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French women make being chic seem effortless. We see it in their ability to look stunningly good in jeans, a simple cotton shirt and a vintage Hermes scarf. When it comes to style in clothes and food—they most always win.

I was introduced to this chic and easy recipe for carottes râpées (shredded carrots) years ago by a dear French friend’s mother. She makes it for her refrigerator almost weekly and uses it as a colorful raw side vegetable for fish, meat or chicken, as do many French bistros.

It’s perfect for snacking, dressed or undressed, when you’re having one of those—​why don’t French women ever get fat kind of moments. Could it be because they rarely snack, even on carottes râpées.

Ingredients & directions

  • 1 bag or two bunches of cleaned carrots finely shredded, preferably in a food processor because they look better
  • 2 sweet anise bulbs (fennel) thinly sliced, preferably with a mandolin because they, too, look better
  • Finely chopped parsley and sweet anise fronds to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dressing (prepare this separately and dress lightly just before serving)

  • 2 parts olive oil
  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 4 or 5 cloves of pressed or minced fresh garlic (to taste)
  • 1 small teaspoon Dijon mustard, or not, if you don’t care for mustard flavoring.

Nutritional information

  • A small serving of shredded carrots provides enough beta carotene to provide the required daily amount of vitamin A, particularly for young people who metabolize vegetable-sourced vitamin A far better than older people.
  • Beta carotene is a fabulous singlet oxygen quencher, and that’s a good thing because singlet oxygen is particularly destructive to the retina (dark berries and grapeseed extract are also excellent singlet oxygen quenchers).

One thing to remember is that hydro-carbon beta carotene does interfere with the absorption of the xanthophyll carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. So, as good as this recipe is, we don’t recommend that you have large amounts every day if you need to maintain a substantial amount of macula pigment.

  • Sweet anise (fennel) is a great source of vitamin A, C and iron.
  • Raw garlic has been considered a superfood for thousands of years because of its many health benefits. It’s rich in a phytochemical that converts to allicin, which helps lower cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. It also stimulates the immune system and helps fight infections as well as lowering the risk of developing heart disease and cancers. Unfortunately, cooking garlic destroys garlic’s ability to make allicin so it’s not as beneficial as raw garlic. Garlic can also act as a healthy blood thinner that may interact with some drugs, including the blood-thinning drug warfarin.

Via Ellen Troyer, with Sabrina Farmer and the Biosyntrx staff