Tag Archives: carrot

Roasted Carrot Hummus

Carrot Hummus

Move over chickpea hummus, there’s a new ingredient town.

Who doesn’t like a good hummus? Mild, nutty, and agreeably versatile, this creamy Levantine dip is a go-to for snacks, spreads, and party dips. It’s also a wonderful starting point for variations, such as carrot hummus.

Carrot hummus, you say? You bet: Picture your favorite Middle Eastern hummus – the ubiquitous blend of chickpeas, sesame paste (tahini), olive oil, lemon, and garlic. Then, send it further west to North Africa, picking up a few more ingredients along the way, such as coriander, mint, and harissa, a fiery Moroccan chile paste. Now, add the carrots, but before you do, roast them first, softening the carrots to a blending consistency, coloring them with a little char, and coaxing out their ample natural sugars. Give it all a good long blitz with the usual hummus ingredients in a food processor until thick, creamy, and smooth. Take a taste – it will be mildly sweet, slightly nutty, and a tad smoky, vividly colored and bright with citrus. Scrape it into a bowl and lick the spoon, then decorate the top with a shower of chopped crunchy pistachios and fragrant mint. Chances are you will never go back. 

Roasted Carrot Hummus

Makes about 2 cups
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Carrots:
1/2 pound carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Hummus:
1 (15-ounce) can chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons tahini
1 to 2 tablespoons harissa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for garnish

Garnish:
1/4 cup coarsely chopped shelled pistachios
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Place the carrots in a small baking dish. Add the oil, salt, cumin, and black pepper and stir to coat. Roast in the oven until the carrots are tender, 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove and cool slightly.

2. Transfer the carrots and any pan juices to the bowl of a food processor. Add the remaining dip ingredients and process until smooth. If too thick, add additional olive oil or warm water to your desired consistency. Taste for seasoning.

3. Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl and garnish with the pistachios, mint, and extra black pepper. Serve with pita wedges, baguette, and/or cruditées.

Roasted Root Vegetable Fries

root fries

If you have a hankering for fries, try these spiced and roasted root fries for a healthy alternative. Switch out the go-to potato for nutrient-rich roots and tubers, such as sweet potato, rutabaga, carrot, and turnip. Mix and match the selection to your taste, but go for a colorful array, guaranteed to brighten your dinner plate. Slow roasting them will coax out the natural sugars which will encourage browning and slight caramelization, without the added fat of deep frying. Serve with a cooling yogurt dip spiked with Sriracha – not too heavy, low in fat, big on flavor. So, go on and indulge in this healthy winter snack and consider it a virtuous start to the new year.

Roasted Root Vegetable Fries
Leave the skin on the baked potato for extra nutrients and texture. If you can get your hands on purple sweet potatoes, give them a try – they maintain their firmness during roasting which makes for a great fry.

Serves 4 to 6

2 1/2 pounds assorted root vegetables, such as sweet potato, rutabaga, carrot, parsnip
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sriracha Yogurt Dipping Sauce:
1 cup Greek whole milk yogurt
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 425°F. Cut the root vegetables into 2-inch batons, about 3/8-inch thick. Place in a large bowl. This the oil, salt, cumin, paprika, and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over the vegetables and stir to evenly coat.

Spread the vegetables in one layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the lowest rack of the oven until browned on the bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Move the baking sheet to the top rack of the oven and bake until golden brown on top and tender but not limp, about 20 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, whisk the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Serve the fries with the sauce for dipping.

Baked Root Vegetable Fries

root veg fries tastefood

You can have your fries and still feel virtuous with these colorful roots. Give the russet potato a well-deserved break, and substitute carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, or sweet potato for the ubiquitous spud. As their name implies, root veggies are the roots of growing plants, which means that they are storehouses of energy and nutrients. Not only that, they are jammed with pent up flavor and natural sugars, which translates to sweet, earthy, nuttiness on the plate.

Mix and match your favorite roots and spice to your taste. Simple salt and pepper is always a winner, or spice them up with a zesty mixture of cumin, paprika, and cayenne. And yes, you can have your dipping sauce too without tipping the scales. Try a cool and creamy Greek yogurt sauce infused with garlic and chipotle for a smoky, low fat and highly addictive sauce. Alternatively, ditch the sauce and ramp up the garlic notes with a zesty lemon, garlic and parsley gremolata.

Baked Root Vegetable Fries 
Serves 4 to 6

1 large parsnip
1 large carrot
1 medium sweet potato
1 medium rutabaga
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Chipotle Sauce:
3/4 cup Greek whole milk yogurt
1 chipotle in adobo, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Lemon Gremolata:
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Heat the oven to 425°F. Cut the root vegetables in 2-inch batons, about 3/8-inch thick. Place in a large bowl. Add the oil,  salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread in one layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the lowest rack of the oven until browned on the bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Move the baking sheet to the top rack of the oven and bake until golden brown on top, about 20 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, whisk the chipotle sauce ingredients in a small bowl if using. Serve the fries with the sauce for dipping.

Alternatively, remove fries from oven and toss with the gremolata ingredients.

Packing Carrots

Moving is complicated when you have a garden. Just how much dirt should be transported from one abode to another can lead to a spirited debate in our house. My attitude is to keep the labor to a minimum, and harvest, harvest, harvest. Suffice to say, we have been eating a good deal of carrots lately. And there is a threshold where one crosses from eating just enough to too many fresh carrots. So, I made a soup with the extras. A lot of soup.

Carrot and Coriander Soup
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound carrots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup cilantro sprigs, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, 3 minutes. Add carrots, ground coriander, cumin and cayenne. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until carrots are very soft, about 45 minutes. Carefully transfer soup to bowl of food processor or blender. Add cilantro sprigs. Purée until smooth. Return soup to pot. Stir in brown sugar, salt and pepper. Gently rewarm over medium heat. Serve soup warm garnished with fresh cilantro sprigs.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Spiced Carrot Croquettes with Yogurt Sriracha Sauce
Kale and Carrot Salad with Pecans and Cranberries
Spring Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Chicken and Farro Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms

Simple Sunday dinner:
Chicken and Farro Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms

Following a busy, social weekend with big meals and late evenings, Sunday is nicely relaxed and peaceful with no reservations, no make-up and no agenda. Dinner will reflect simplicity and balance with fresh and light ingredients and minimal fuss. It’s a perfect moment for this restorative chicken soup, using leftover meat and homemade stock from last week’s roast. Carrots, shiitakes, and fresh snipped parsley from our terrace pots brighten and flavor the soup, while farro adds a little nutritional heft to this easy one-dish meal.

Chicken and Farro Soup with Carrots and Shiitakes
Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, trimmed, halved if large
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup farro
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cooked chicken breasts, 12 to 16 ounces, shredded in large pieces
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Heat oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until it softens without coloring, 2 minutes. Add carrots and mushrooms. Sauté until carrots brighten in color and mushrooms begin to release their juices, 2 to 3  minutes. Add stock, farro, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer until farro is tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in chicken and top off with additional stock if needed. Taste for seasoning. Simmer until chicken is heated through. Ladle into bowls. Serve hot, garnished with parsley.

Chicken and Vegetable Curry

~ Chicken and Vegetable Curry ~

At last the rains have come. This means that much-needed snow is finally falling in the mountains, and it also means that it’s perfect weather at home for a stew. January invites slow-cooking and one-pot meals. After the fancy food and hoopla of the holidays, the first month of the new year begets hearty and comforting meals without pretension. This curry is a perfect example. Brimming with vegetables and perfumed with curry, this stew is healthy and light. Its brightness and heat will warm and feed a crowd, while jump-starting any dormant taste buds suffering the winter doldrums.

Chicken and Vegetable Curry

For a richer curry, substitute the chicken stock with 1 – 14 ounce can of coconut milk. Serves 4 – 6.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons grated ginger, with juices
1 heaping tablespoon curry powder, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 large carrot, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, cut in 1/4 inch julienne
1 half head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 – 15 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juices
2 cups chicken stock, or more as necessary
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch pieces
Fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a deep skillet or pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the curry powder and salt; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the carrot, red pepper and cauliflower. Cook, stirring to coat the vegetables with the spices, 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes with juices and chicken stock. The vegetables should be just covered with liquid. If not, add a little more chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon. Stir in the chicken. Simmer, partially covered, until chicken is thoroughly cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning. If needed, add 1-2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Serve hot with basmati rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

 

Kale and Carrot Salad with Pecans and Cranberries

~ Salad with substance: Kale, Carrots, Shallot, Pecans, Dried Cranberries ~

Fall and winter salads differ from their light and cooling summer cousin. Cold weather salads should be filling and comforting, hardy with fruit and nuts, cheese and dried meat. While served fresh, these salads should give warmth in substance. The base of this bright fall salad is kale. In it’s raw form kale is tough and bitter, best shredded in a slaw or sautéed in olive oil. For this salad I’ve softened the kale  by quickly blanching it just to soften its edges without wilting. The other ingredients fall willingly into formation, adding sweetness, crunch and a vibrancy of color pretty enough to decorate any holiday table.

Winter Kale and Carrot Salad with Pecans and Cranberries
Sliced persimmons would also be a nice addition to this salad.
Serves 4 as a side.

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large bunch curly green kale, tough vein removed, torn in large pieces
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/3 cup pecans, halved
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Make the vinaigrette: Whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly to emulsify. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add kale and blanch just until the color brightens and the leaves still hold their shape, 20 seconds. Drain immediately and rinse under cold water. Spin dry in a salad spinner or blot dry with a kitchen towel. Transfer to a bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Toss with half of the dressing and taste for seasoning. Serve with additional dressing to taste.

Spiced Carrot Croquettes with Yogurt-Sriracha Sauce

If this recipe sounds vaguely familiar to you, then it might be because these croquettes have a similar method to my favorite Smoked Salmon Fish Cakes.  Say, what? – you may ask.  It’s true – this is a great example of a recipe that works. Over many renditions I finally arrived at a pan-fried cake/patty/croquette recipe which I love. It’s light, crispy and packed with the main ingredient. It’s a winner, and I’m sticking to it.

In this version, the star ingredient is carrot. Its sweetness is nicely balanced by the spice and heat of chile, coriander and cumin. Flecked with green onion and cilantro, the croquettes are light and airy with a satisfying bite. A coating of panko crumbs ensures a crisp exterior, begging for a dip in the sriracha laced yogurt sauce, which is a perfect cooling foil to the warm croquettes.

Spiced Carrot Croquettes with Yogurt Sriracha Sauce
Makes 16 – 1 1/2 inch croquettes

Carrot croquettes:
8 large carrots, peeled, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs, divided
2 green onions, ends trimmed, white and green parts minced
1 small red jalapeno or serrano chile pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Greek-style whole milk yogurt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Vegetable oil for frying

Yogurt-Sriracha Sauce:
1 cup Greek-style whole milk yogurt
1/2 tablespoon sriracha sauce
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt, to taste

Steam carrots until very soft, 30-40 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and mash. (There should be about 2 cups.)
Place 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl; set aside. Add 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, green onion, chile pepper, cilantro, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper to the carrots. Stir to combine, and then stir in the yogurt and lemon juice. Using a soup spoon, scoop out a spoonful of the carrots. Lightly form into a 1 1/2 inch patty. Gently roll in reserved breadcrumbs to coat. Place on a platter. Repeat with remaining carrots. (Croquettes may be prepared to this point up to 3 hours before cooking. Loosely cover with plastic and refrigerate.)
Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add croquettes in batches. Fry until golden brown, turning once, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with remaining carrots.
To make the sauce, whisk all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Transfer croquettes to a serving plate. Serve with the yogurt sauce and lemon wedges. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Kale Slaw

Yep, that’s kale slaw – not cole slaw. The star of this little bowl of goodness is healthy, nutrient-rich kale. Not only is kale considered a “superfood” it’s delicious and versatile to use. Try it raw in salads, braised with garlic and olive oil, blanched in soups, or crisp-roasted in the oven. Whichever method you choose, kale is a keeper. In this version of a slaw, sturdy lacinato kale replaces the usual cabbage. Accompanied by carrot shavings, sweet red pepper and chile, the kale is tossed with a cumin-infused Dijon vinaigrette. This a satisfying side dish which tastes great and looks pretty, too.

Kale Slaw
Makes 4 servings

I like the flavor of lacinato kale, an heirloom kale variety from Tuscany. It’s dark blue-green leaves retain their firmness in this slaw recipe. Feel free to substitute or combine other kinds of kale for a variety of color and texture.

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch lacinato or Tuscan kale, tough ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
1 large carrot, grated
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, membranes removed, cut in 1/2 inch slivers
1-2 red fresno or serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, membranes removed, minced
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill sprigs
1/4 cup cilantro or Italian parsley leaves

Combine lemon juice, mustard, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil in a steady stream to emulsify. Set aside.
Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle half of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to thoroughly coat. Add additional vinaigrette to taste. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour and up to 4 hours. Serve with additional dill, cilantro or parsley sprigs as garnish.

Kale, Bulgur and Carrot Salad

Bulgur Kale Carrot

Lately, kale has been irresistable at the market. I usually like to sauté kale with garlic and olive oil or wilt it in warm soups. But in warm weather, the firm toothsome leaves beckon me when making salads. And what better way to highlight the nutrient-rich kale than in a salad?  A member of the brassica family of vegetables, Kale is high in beta-carotene and fiber and rich in vitamins K, A and C. Not only that, it contains sufloraphane, an anti-cancer chemical which forms when kale and other cruciferous vegetables are chopped, minced or chewed. Combine all that goodness in a scrumptious salad, and we are extremely happy, well-fed campers.

This salad is a riff on tabbouleh, one of my favorite summer salads. Usually I add copious handfuls of mint, parsley and coriander to my tabbouleh, but this time I wanted a milder salad to accompany grilled salmon. I had a bunch of Tuscan kale on hand, so I finely chopped the leaves and added them to the bulgur. The dark sturdy greens rippled throughout the salad. Shredded sweet carrot and flecks of red chile rounded out the flavors and added to the confetti of colors. In place of the usual aromatics, I tossed in a handful of dill sprigs, adding subtle grassy sweetness. The result was a delicious, satisfying and healthy salad. Serve as a simple salad or an accompaniment to grilled meat and fish.


Bulgur Kale

Kale, Bulgur and Carrot Salad
Serves 6-8 as a side dish

2 cups bulgur
2 cups water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
juice from one lemon
juice from one lime
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 cup finely grated carrots
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 serrano chile, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 large Tuscan or curly kale leaves, ribs removed, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh dill sprigs (or mint, parsley)

Pour 2 cups boiling water over bulgur in a non-reactive bowl. Let sit, covered, until nearly all the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Add olive oil, lemon and lime juice. Let sit until liquid is absorbed. Mix in cumin, salt, pepper and tabasco. Stir in carrots, onion, chile, garlic and kale. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. Before serving, taste to adjust seasoning. Stir in dill. Serve.