Havuç Tarator (Turkish Carrot Salad with Yogurt)

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Havuç Tarator, a classic Turkish carrot salad with yogurt, is a delightful blend of sweet carrots and creamy tangy Greek yogurt. It’s perfect as a starter, dip, or side dish. This simple yet flavorful dish, with its sautéed garlic and a hint of olive oil, brings a refreshing taste of Turkish cuisine to your table.


classic Turkish carrot salad with yogurt in a white serving platter


 

You may already know Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines are renowned for their creamy and flavorful yogurt-based dishes. Popular examples include Cacik Recipe Turkish Yogurt and Cucumber, Creamy Cucumber Salad, Labneh, a tangy, strained yogurt spread often drizzled with olive oil. Another favorite is Mast-o-Khiar, a Persian dip featuring yogurt mixed with cucumbers and herbs.

Recipe Highlights: Turkish Carrot Salad with Yogurt

Cultural Influence: Turkish

Suitable for: Vegetarian, gluten-free, can be made dairy-free

Dominant Flavor Profile: Savory, creamy, and mildly sweet

Skill Level Required: Beginner-friendly

Why You’ll Love This Recipe: This salad has a simple preparation and rich, creamy taste. It’s versatile, nutritious, and can easily be made dairy-free with plant-based yogurt.


What is Havuç Tarator or Carrot Salad with Yogurt?

Havuç Tarator, also known as Turkish Carrot Salad, is a beloved starter in Turkish cuisine.

This dish is a staple in Turkish households and often graces the table during family gatherings and festive occasions.

The roots of Havuç Tarator lie in the rich culinary traditions of Turkey, where yogurt-based salads and dips are a common feature.

Traditional Significance

In Turkey, mezzes (small dishes) play a crucial role in the dining experience, often served before the main course.

Havuç Tarator is one such mezze, appreciated for its simplicity and vibrant flavors. The combination of carrots and yogurt not only creates a delightful contrast in texture and taste but also showcases the use of fresh, seasonal ingredients that are central to Turkish cooking.

Popularity and Variations

This carrot salad with yogurt is particularly popular in the Mediterranean region of Turkey, where the warm climate makes light, refreshing dishes a favored choice.

While the classic version uses Greek yogurt, some variations might include herbs like dill or mint, or a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper for a bit of heat.

It’s also adaptable to modern dietary preferences, with plant-based yogurts providing a dairy-free alternative.


Havuç Tarator Ingredients

Turkish carrot salad with yogurt ingredients including carrots, Greek yogurt, salt, olive oil, and garlic
  • Olive oil: Adds a smooth, rich flavor and helps sauté the garlic and carrots to perfection.
  • Garlic: Provides a savory and aromatic base, enhancing the overall flavor of the dish.
  • Carrots: Shredded for a tender texture and natural sweetness that balances the yogurt.
  • Greek yogurt: Creates a creamy, tangy base that complements the sweetness of the carrots. You can use homemade yogurt if you’d like to make it from scratch or labneh if you’re looking for a thicker consistency.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavors and balances the sweetness and tanginess.
  • Optional: Top with a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper for a hint of heat and extra depth of flavor.

How to Make Turkish Carrot Salad with Yogurt

Step 1

Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the garlic for about a minute.

sauté garlic

Step 2

Then, add in the carrot and cook for 5 to 8 minutes until soft.

add carrots and sauté with garlic

Step 3

Let the sauteed mixture cool completely after removing from heat. Next, mix with the Greek yogurt and add salt.

add cooled garlic and carrots to Greek yogurt with salt

Final Step

Add to a serving dish and top with olive oil.

mixed carrot salad with yogurt in a bowl

Serving Suggestions

Turkish carrot salad with yogurt is a versatile dish that can be served in various ways. This is part of what makes it a delightful addition to any meal. Here are some serving suggestions to enhance your dining experience:

Serve Havuc Tarator as a mezze, a traditional Turkish appetizer. Arrange it in a small bowl and drizzle a bit of extra olive oil on top. You can add some Aleppo pepper for color and a subtle kick.

Pair it with a variety of other mezzes like Turkish smoky eggplant salad, hummus and ezme as well as fresh vegetables and nuts for a vibrant and flavorful spread.

Enjoy Havuc Tarator as a dip with freshly baked bread. It pairs wonderfully with:

  • Bazlama: Soft, thick Turkish flatbread that’s perfect for dipping.
  • Lavash: Thin, flexible flatbread that can be used to scoop up the salad.
  • Pita: Warmed pita bread adds a nice touch and complements the creamy texture of the yogurt.

classic Turkish carrot salad with yogurt in a white serving platter

Recipe Notes

  • Fresh Garlic: Using fresh garlic will give your carrot salad a more vibrant and robust flavor. Avoid pre-minced garlic for the best taste.
  • Fresh Carrots: Choose firm, fresh carrots for the best texture and sweetness. Shredding them yourself will ensure they are the perfect size for this dish.
  • Uniform Shredding: Use a box grater or a food processor with a shredding attachment to achieve uniform carrot pieces. This ensures even cooking and a better texture.
  • Low Heat for Garlic: When sautéing the garlic, keep the heat on low to medium to avoid burning. Burnt garlic can add a bitter taste to the dish.
  • Cool Before Mixing: Allow the sautéed carrots to cool completely before mixing them with the yogurt. Mixing hot carrots with yogurt can cause the yogurt to separate or become runny.
  • Serve Chilled: Carrot salad with yogurt is typically served chilled, so allow it to chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving to enhance its flavors.
  • Optional Spices: Add a pinch of cumin or a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper to introduce an extra layer of flavor and a bit of warmth to the salad.

classic Turkish carrot salad with yogurt in a white serving platter

Variations and Substitutes

1. Dairy-Free Option: Replace the Greek yogurt with a dairy-free yogurt alternative, such as almond, coconut, or soy yogurt. Ensure it’s unsweetened for the best taste.

2. Extra Flavor Boost: Add a pinch of ground cumin or smoked paprika to the sautéed carrots for a deeper, smokier flavor. Or, mix in some chopped fresh dill, mint, or parsley for an herbaceous twist.

4. Add-ins for Texture and Flavor: Sprinkle some toasted pine nuts, walnuts, or sesame seeds on top for added crunch and nutty flavor. Also, you can add a handful of raisins or chopped dried apricots for a sweet contrast to the savory flavors.

5. Different Yogurt Bases: For a thicker, creamier texture, use labneh instead of Greek yogurt. Labneh is a strained yogurt that’s common in Middle Eastern cuisine.


classic Turkish carrot salad with yogurt in a white serving platter

How to Store Havuç Tarator

  • Refrigeration: Transfer any leftover carrot salad to an airtight container or cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate promptly after serving. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Before serving leftover carrot salad, give it a good stir to redistribute any separated liquids and ensure the flavors are evenly mixed.
  • Avoid Freezing: Yogurt-based dishes like Havuç Tarator do not freeze well as freezing can cause the yogurt to separate and change in texture. It’s best enjoyed fresh from the refrigerator.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can I store carrot salad in the refrigerator?

Carrot salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Make sure to stir it well before serving if any separation occurs.

Can I omit the garlic from the recipe?

If you prefer a milder flavor, you can reduce the amount of garlic or omit it altogether. Alternatively, you can sauté the garlic lightly to mellow its sharpness.

Is Havuc Tarator a traditional Turkish dish?

Yes, Havuc Tarator is a traditional Turkish carrot salad that showcases the use of yogurt in Turkish cuisine, known for its creamy texture and refreshing taste.

Can I make Turkish carrot salad in advanc?

You can make Havuc Tarator a day ahead of time. The flavors meld beautifully when it sits in the fridge, making it even more delicious the next day.
If making ahead, give it a good stir before serving to re-incorporate any liquids that may have separated.


Other Turkish Favorites


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havuc tarator or Turkish carrot salad with yogurt
5 from 4 votes

Havuç Tarator (Turkish Carrot Salad with Yogurt)

Havuç Tarator or Turkish carrot salad with yogurt is a classic Turkish dip that is a mix of tangy and savory and makes the perfect appetizer, dip, or side dish.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 6
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Ingredients 

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil  
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 Carrots, shredded
  • cups Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp Salt

Instructions 

  • Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat.
  • Sauté the garlic for a minute. Then, add in the carrot and cook for 5 to 8 minutes until soft.
  • Turn the heat off and let it cool completely.
  • Mix with the Greek yogurt and add salt. Add to a serving dish and top with olive oil. You can serve this dish on its own or with a side of pita or lavash bread.

Video

Notes

Uniform Shredding: Use a box grater or a food processor with a shredding attachment to achieve uniform carrot pieces. This ensures even cooking and a better texture.
Cool Before Mixing: Allow the sautéed carrots to cool completely before mixing them with the yogurt. Mixing hot carrots with yogurt can cause the yogurt to separate or become runny. To speed up the cooling process, spread the cooked carrots out on a baking sheet or a large plate.
Prepare in Advance: You can make Havuc Tarator a day ahead of time. The flavors meld beautifully when it sits in the fridge, making it even more delicious the next day.
Stir Before Serving: If making ahead, give it a good stir before serving to re-incorporate any liquids that may have separated.

Nutrition

Calories: 86kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 233mg | Potassium: 174mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5.097IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About Shadi HasanzadeNemati

I'm here to show you how to make delicious Persian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food at home. My easy to follow recipes will bring exciting new flavors to your table!

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5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was totally new to me, but I am so glad I found this recipe. It is.a new favorite in my kitchen, I am already planning on making it again this weekend!

  2. I love the way to cool creaminess of the yogurt blends with the natural sweetness of the carrots and the bite of the garlic. SO good!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve never tried carrot salad with yogurt, but this dish was very good! I love the creaminess and the crisp flavor of this salad!