Tapas 4: Zanahorias Aliñás: Carrots in Adobo Dressing

This aromatic dish from Cádiz in southern Andalucía is the  simplest of dishes:  lightly steamed carrots steeped in a classic Spanish “adobo” dressing of

  • good sherry vinegar, oregan, paprika, garlic and salt

Simple it may be, but it’s big in flavour and sits perfectly with the tapas philosophy – simply prepared, let the ingredients do the talking

As kids in Cádiz mum would give us adobo’ed hake. Auntie Angelita did the same thing with chicken. Grandma Juana would add cumin seed to her mortar and pestle for a lemony note on marinated carrots and caraway for an aniseedy tang with soft chard stalks. Do smells evoke memories? I think even Stephen Hawkins would agree it’s the closest thing we have to time travel today.

carrots "aliñadas" in adobo

Adobo Carrots (Zanahorias Aliñás)

prep & cooking 15 mins
Course Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Moroccan, Spanish Regional


  • 1/2 kg carrots, sliced

Adobo Dressing

  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tsp paprika smoked, unsmoked, sweet, hot - it's up to you
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds best toasted in a dry pan
  • 3-4 tbsp wine vinegar
  • a little of the water used to boil the carrots

To serve

  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped flat leaf parsley


  • peel or scrape the carrots and cut into thick slices
    peeled carrots
  • steam or simmer in water until tender but firm. 
  • In this recipe we've used purple as well as regular carrots. They need to be cooked separately as the purple carrots will bleed and stain the others.
  • remove the carrots from the boiling water with a slotted spoon. You´ll use some of this water in the dressing.  
  • toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan or skillet until they release their aroma. Put them in your mortar and pestle and grind then roughly. 
  • add the garlic, salt, paprika and oregano and pound them to a coarse paste
    molcajete wwith adobo ingredients
  • add the vinegar and a little of the carrot water and mix
  • add the dressing to the carrots, then put them in the fridge or other cool place for several hours or overnight. 
  • To serve add a generous drizzle of best olive oil, chopped parsley and coarsely ground sea salt and black pepper. Alternatively, add chopped fresh oregano, marjoram or thyme
    andalusian adobo carrots



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