Carrot and Tuna Salad

I stop at the Little Tokyo Public Library from time to time and go through stacks and stacks of food magazines and cookbooks. And this recipe keeps popping up. Harumi Kurihara’s books are my favorite and I noticed this carrot and tuna salad recipe making an appearance in a couple of her books, some Japanese, some in English. She says she created this recipe 20 years ago and still receives letters from readers about it. Must be good.

Her method is to microwave the carrots, onion, garlic, and oil in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for about a minute and a half. Since I don’t have a microwave, I did this in a pan and it worked out great. The tangy dressing goes well with the sweetness of the carrots and the addition of tuna makes it feel substantial. It’s really my kind of salad—great texture and a good amount of protein. I know it’s only January, but with LA weather in the 80s, I’m already thinking this would be perfect to take on a picnic.

Carrot and Tuna Salad
Adapted from Your Japanese Kitchen 2
Makes 4 servings

4 medium carrots (about 7 oz./200g), cut into matchsticks
1/4 small onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 can solid white tuna, drained

1 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp shoyu
ground pepper

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, shoyu, and ground pepper. Mix well and set aside.

In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add carrots and stir well. Cook until the carrots are “al dente”—soft, but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add the tuna and the dressing to the bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Let sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator for about an hour to let the flavors meld before eating.

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  1. Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    It’s funny. I have a Harumi Kurihara’s book! This salad looks terrific. Easy, simple and elegant, but made with such basic ingredients as canned tuna and carrots (I always have both at home). It sounds like my kind of dish too :-)

  2. Ken
    Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Sounds delicious. I have to give this a try.

  3. Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Sissi, you’re absolutely right—I love that this salad comes together with things I already have in stock. A little labor-intensive with all the chopping, but hope you have a chance to make it.

    Ken, let me know if you try it! Hope you like it…

  4. Rose
    Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE this blog! I’m from NZ and found out about it through Can’t wait to start whipping up your delish recipes :)

  5. Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Rose, thank you so much! What a great write up, too. Hope you enjoy making some of these recipes!

  6. Posted March 29, 2012 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    Hi Azusa, I have already made this salad twice and I think it’s fabulous! Thank you for one more easy and delicious dish which will be my staple! (I have made a slight modification due to the lack of whole grain mustard but it was still excellent).

  7. Posted March 29, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Sissi, I’m glad you like it! Worth all of the chopping, right?

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