Carrot Salad with Mint and Dates, and Old Man Guavaberry

Carrot salad is something you’ve probably had with redundancy.  Likely alongside picnic potato salad or waffle fries.  Often upstaged by something piggy.  Hardly deserving of a special introduction.

Unless it’s good enough to voluntarily make three times in a week.  Especially if two of those times occur on vacation.  Then it might be worthy of a little discussion. 

I first made this salad out of arguable necessity on the island of Sint Maarten.  There we drank a lot of mojitos and Caribs, and ate chicken and rib platters saddled with four starch sides at a “lolo” called Sky’s the Limit, because a man named Elvis said so. 

Hot damn Elvis was right. 

It was the best thing we ate on the island.  You probably know where I am going with our second best.  We were lucky to have a small kitchen in our room and access to a grocery store that stocked carrots as big as hammers. 

We also had mint, leftover from the mojito-making.  And dates, leftover from Christmas that my mother thriftily packed in her suitcase.  And orange juice, with a little booze in it, leftover from my plane ride to the island.  Because I do not like to fly.

Throw in some lime, because it’s a crime to go without it when drinking Carib beer.  And some mayo, because eating a tuna sandwich with a little sand in it is pretty much a necessity on any beach vacation.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

When we weren’t gushing about our good fortune of Creole chicken plates and Elvis, we were eating this salad.  Because it is very, very good.  The dates add a caramel depth that the more traditional raisin addition leaves out. The citrus punches up the carrot, while the mint adds a peppery, grassy edge. 

The splash of rum is really a tribute to Old Man Guavaberry, the distillery on the island.  I brought a bottle home because, well, who can resist something like that?

To be sure it wasn’t the ocean—or our special island hammer carrots—I made the salad again this week.  It was just as good as it was in the Caribbean at happy hour.  The view isn’t quite as nice now, which you can clearly see below.  

But it's not so bad seeing carrot salad and a bottle of Old Man Guava at home, either.

Carrot Salad with Mint and Dates


1 bunch of carrots (about 5 large or 7 to 8 small), peeled and shredded
juice of ½ a lime
1 to 2 tbsp orange juice
4 to 5 tbsp of mayo
splash of rum, bourbon, etc. (about a tsp or two)
1 to 2 sprigs of mint, leaves taken off and roughly chopped
8 to 10 pitted dates, roughly chopped
pinch or two of red pepper flakes
salt, to taste


Place the shredded carrots in a bowl and add remaining ingredients; stir well.  Taste and adjust seasoning. (For the ingredients given in ranges, start with the smaller amount and add more as needed.)

Pair with obligatory rum cocktail.

Makes about ¾ quart

-There is a link above explaining a “lolo,” but essentially it is a small roadside BBQ joint.  I highly suggest reading about Sky’s the Limit too.

-This is definitely a salad with a carefree island attitude; it’s easily adjustable.  The hardest part is the shredding.

-I’m sure you can leave off the booze.  But it’s fun to add a little vacation in.

1 comment:

  1. I actually haven't had a lot of carrot salads, so I will welcome any kind, especially with booze. Rum should never be left out, in my opinion!