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less stick, more carrot

Recipe: roasted carrots

It’s been a rather productive fall for us, which may have a lot to do with the lack of snow. November provided few flakes for the ski resorts and the backcountry. But the high, dry winds delivered some outstanding sunsets and sunrises. Rather than gripe (too much) about the delay in the ski season, I redirected my energies to those long-neglected tasks in dire need of attention. As a small reward for getting so much done this autumn, I signed up for an online bookbinding class and learned how to transform fabric into bookcloth.

stacked lenticulars are so otherworldly

a feather dance at sunset

my two notebooks from class

Many Colorado ski hills open Thanksgiving week, even if it is a single run of man-made snow. We opted not to ski opening day at either of our local resorts and instead headed to the backcountry for a quiet ski tour. It happened to be the right decision because we were greeted with fresh snow and free refills all day. Yuki had a tummy bug the whole week, so we kept her on a mild diet and low activity. Jeremy snuck Neva out for bike rides to get her some exercise and wear down her rake-claws. It was a pleasant and low-key holiday week for our house. Well, not as pleasant as Yuki would have liked, but after a week of sad puppy eyes she’s back to normal and had a wonderful romp around the soccer field with some doggie friends this weekend.

real snow in the snow globe

neva wouldn’t budge, so yuki accepted sharing the bed

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, Holiday Madness Mode begins. There is nothing like holiday food to make me crave vegetables. The carrot is the one vegetable I often forget I love. We regularly buy carrots (adult, not baby) for raw snacking. And then a few times each winter I make roasted carrot soup. I will find myself noshing on several cubes of the sweet roasted carrots before the rest go into the stock pot and make some vague mental note that these are super addictive. I’m ashamed it has taken me this long to make roasted carrots as a dish unto itself, but I’m also glad I finally did it.

olive oil, pepper, mint, carrots, thyme, cumin seeds, chile powder, salt, turmeric, coriander seeds

The recipe comes from The New York Times Cooking archives and the only change I made was to omit the butter. I’ve cooked this successfully with both ground spices (cumin and coriander) and seeds (cumin and coriander), although I do prefer the seeds version. And while it is great without the mint, I think the mint lends a bright herbal finish. The preparation is simple and requires little effort for the payoff.

toss cut carrots with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme

spread on a hot baking sheet

While the carrots roast, mix your spices together in the bowl you used to toss the carrots. Because these carrots are so unexpectedly tasty and because there is considerable shrinkage during roasting, the general consensus is to double the recipe so you aren’t caught flat-footed.

grinding the toasted cumin and coriander seeds

mix the spices together

Keep an eye on your carrots as roasting time will be affected by the thickness of the slices and the enthusiasm of your oven. Mine went the full 25 minutes to maximize caramelization and tenderness. Once out of the oven, toss the carrots with your spices and the mint.

roasty toasty

toss with spices and herbs

I sometimes wonder how many people who shun vegetables would feel otherwise if they had grown up eating vegetables that were prepared with love and respect. These carrots practically taste like candy, their natural sweetness enhanced by roasting. And you’ll appreciate the warming spices during the cooler months. It’s naturally vegan, gluten-free, diary-free, healthy, and delicious. The carrot is the reward.

serve hot or room temperature

finished with mint and flake sea salt

Roasted Carrots
[print recipe]
slightly modified from NYTimes Cooking

10 medium carrots, peeled
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted*
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted**
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp mild chile powder (Aleppo in original recipe)
2 tbsps fresh mint, chopped
flake sea salt for garnish

* Can substitute 1/2 tsp ground cumin for the cumin seeds.
** Can substitute 1/2 tsp ground coriander for the coriander seeds.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut carrots in half (about 3-4 inches long), then cut those pieces in half lengthwise. You can cut the fat pieces lengthwise into quarters for more even thickness. Toss the carrots in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. Heat your baking sheet in the oven for 3-4 minutes. When you are ready to roast your carrots, remove the pan from the oven and spread the carrots into a single layer on the sheet (I lined my sheet with parchment paper and then arranged the carrots). Reserve your bowl. Roast for 20-25 minutes (25 minutes for me), stirring the carrots and spreading them back into a single layer every 10 minutes. They are done when slightly caramelized and fork tender.

While the carrots roast, grind the cumin and coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle. Combine the ground cumin and coriander with the turmeric and chile. When the carrots are just out of the oven, toss them with the spices and 3/4 of the mint in the same large mixing bowl. [NOTE: If using pre-ground cumin and coriander, toss the roasted carrots with the spices, spread on the baking sheet, and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. When you take them out of the oven, toss with 3/4 of the mint.] Garnish with the remaining mint and flake sea salt. Serves 4-6.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

roasted carrot soup fried polenta and porcini on roasted carrot purée vietnamese pickled vegetables cottage pie with beef and carrots

8 nibbles at “less stick, more carrot”

  1. Teresa says:

    Looks so delicious Jen! Thank you!

  2. Bette says:

    And next, process them (or the leftovers) into a batch of fresh hummus! Yum!

  3. Kristin says:

    I have everything but the carrots, but you’ve kindly posted this on menu/grocery list day. Thanks! I’m glad Yuki is feeling better.

  4. Lisa says:

    I love the pics of your beautiful Colorado sky! I love carrots and like this idea for roasting them! I really need to subscribe to the NYT Cooking page! They have amazing ideas and love Melissa clark.

  5. Mei says:

    I made the roasted carrots and they were delicious! We ate them on top of bagged Trader Joe’s salad. I took the carrots out after 20 minutes and tossed them in the spices and some oil before returning them back to the oven for another 10 minutes. I think you have to cook warm spices at least a little bit or they taste raw and have a definite aftertaste. Overall, a really great base recipe! Thanks!

  6. Phoebe says:

    Have missed your posts. It’s been a long time. Hope all is ok. Sure hope that you weren’t in the path of the fires. The roasted carrots are delicious.

  7. Phoebe says:

    Have missed your posts. Hope all is well and you weren’t affected by the fires. The roasted carrots are delicious.

  8. jenyu says:

    Teresa – You’re welcome :)

    Bette – Great idea if I ever have leftovers ;)

    Kristin – Thank you xo

    Lisa – NYT Cooking has so many great ideas. I’m pretty certain I will never get around to them all in this lifetime!

    Mei – Yes, you are correct! I tossed them with hot carrots on the pan out of the oven, but I usually go for the whole spices since I have them and they’re so lovely freshly toasted. I shall make a note in the recipe – thank you!

    Phoebe – Thank you, we were safe from the fires. My posting frequency has given way to life, but I’m still here :) xo

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