Carrots are a staple on my winter vegetable rotation. They are so versatile and in almost every international cuisine. You can turn them savory or sweet, and when cooked, they blend into dressings and sauces in a oh-so-silky way. They are easy to present beautifully and the health benefits are impressive. Antioxidants help with beautiful skin and a reduced risk of several cancers. The fiber content keeps your digestion happy, and of course, the beta carotene is good for your peepers.
I like cooking with them because they are easy to prepare ahead of time and can be topped an infinite number of ways just before serving.
Here's what you'll need to start:
- 1.5 lbs baby carrots*, scrubbed clean, patted dry and greens trimmed ~1" above carrot top
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Foil-lined baking sheet
*Baby carrots aren't always available so use what you can find and cut down to ~5" length. Rainbow carrots add more color to your plate and you can always use parsnips the same way.
- Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Trim the carrot tops off, leaving ~1" on top. scrub the carrots clean. Scrubbing vs. peeling keeps more nutrients intact.
- Toss cleaned carrots with olive oil and pinch or two of salt and spread evenly on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Allowing space between the carrots allows them to brown better.
- Roast 20-25 minutes, tossing around every 15 minutes or so
- This timing gives a soft, brown roasted carrot. If you prefer something more al-dente, cut roasting time to 10-15 minutes.
If prepping ahead of time, let the carrots cool completely before covering and storing in the fridge. To reheat, pop back in the oven the same way for ~5-10 minutes before topping.
So now you have your yummy carrots ready to top with the good stuff. These combos WORK:
- ricotta + diced dried apricots + chopped pistachios + cilantro + cracked pepper
- yogurt + olive oil + curry powder + coriander + cilantro + lime zest + finely diced shallot or red onion
- dried cherries + mint + walnuts + honey + lemon juice + lemon zest
I love the varying textures of these toppings. Try them out with whatever nuts, herbs or fruits you have on hand. Comment with what you come up with!