CSA Series: This Spicy Carrot Protein Pasta Salad Mixes Up Your Summer Table

All through the harvest season, we’re highlighting recipes you can make with the veggies you get in your CSA, and carrots will be in season in no time. One of my favorite Russian dishes is called “Korean carrot salad.” This is probably somewhat confusing. The history of the dish is a bit muddled, but some say that it was developed when Korean immigrants to the Soviet Union tried to recreate kimchi with whatever was at hand. Hey presto! – this spicy carrot salad was born. My husband and his family are from Ukraine, and spicy carrot salad is almost always at hand when we gather together (possibly because my mother-in-law knows I love it). Born out of my love for this classic side dish, my spicy carrot protein pasta salad adds chickpeas so it can be eaten as a main dish. 

A Simple But Mighty Vegetarian Staple

Russian cuisine is a lot of things, but it is definitely not vegetarian. When my husband and I first started dating, I ate vegetarian, and this was one dish I could count on to be meat-free when we would eat at his mom’s. I wanted to incorporate the spicy carrot flavors, and keep this dish vegetarian/vegan. As a bonus, it’s gluten free! If you’re not familiar with Russian cooking, this salad is a really good entry point. 

I think my mother-in-law is a little bemused at my love for spicy carrot salad, since it’s so simple. But I argue that spicy carrots are DELICIOUS and the crunch is so satisfying. It needed to be elevated to main dish status. This spicy carrot protein pasta salad is a great way to use up carrots sitting in the bottom of your crisper drawer, acquired at your local farmer’s market, or through a CSA. Because carrots last so long in the fridge, I’ll often forget that I have a bag tucked away and will make this dish last minute because I usually have the other ingredients on hand. Add this carrot salad to your summer repertoire and let us know what you think! 

spicy carrot protein pasta salad

Spicy Carrot Protein Pasta Salad

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This twist on a classic Russian side has been elevated to main dish status.


  • 1 lb carrots (buy shredded or use a julienne slicer/mandoline)
  • 1 lb of protein pasta (chickpea pasta or red lentil pasta work great)
  • 1 15.5 oz can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 - 1 tbsp kosher salt use less if using table salt
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika or regular
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 5 cloves garlic peeled & pressed
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2/3 cup virgin olive oil
  • Italian parsley, for garnish


    Boil pasta according to directions. Since this is a pasta salad, you can boil the noodles just past al dente, and rinse them to stop the cooking process.

    Drain and rinse the chickpeas with the noodles. 

    Shred carrots: Start by peeling and julienning carrots using a julienne slicer or (carefully) with a mandoline.

    Mix: Now to a bowl add everything, but olive oil, garlic, and onions. Mix and set aside.

    Prepare the oil & onion: Heat the oil in a skillet, add diced onions and saute until the onions are golden in color. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute. The oil must be thoroughly heated until almost smoking before adding to the salad. Once this temperature is reached, turn off the heat. 

    Add the oil into the carrots and pasta a little bit at a time, mixing with a large fork after each addition. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Top with parsley. 

    We’d recommend letting the pasta salad marinate for at least 6-12 hours before eating for the best flavor. To store, transfer to a closed container and keep in the fridge up to a week.


With help from Let the Baking Begin

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 525Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 470mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 11gSugar: 10gProtein: 15g

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