I was so excited to see carrots in the distribution this week. The variety of colors is just beautiful. I just had to focus on them this week.
Carrots are probably the most universally palatable vegetable. Even kids that won’t touch a green vegetable are typically not adverse to carrots. Sweet and crunchy when raw and even sweeter when cooked, carrots are definitely crowd pleasers.
While most of us have grown up knowing only the large orange varieties, carrot varieties can actually vary by size and color. They are typically categorized by length and can be white, yellow, orange, red, or purple. The color is concentrated mainly in the skins, so it is important not to peel the colored carrots, or you lose lots of important micronutrients such as antioxidants.
Carrot greens are one of those vegetable tops that people tend to shy away from. Yet they can be delightful in various culinary preparations and offer a very healthful dose of chlorophyll and vitamin K. While slightly bitter, the greens are fun used sparingly in salads or as a garnish, or added to soups, omelets, or homemade veggie broth, and even made into pesto. They can also be dried to use throughout the winter as an herb. If you get greens with your carrots, be sure to clean the leaves really well, however, as they tend to hold a lot of grit.
Carrot roots are very high in Vitamin A (good for the eyes) and the antioxidant carotene (it was even named after the vegetable), but also contains impressive amounts of vitamin c, fiber, B6, and potassium.
Culinary uses for carrot roots are endless. The favorite of every crudité platter, they are a home run with most kinds of dips. They often play an understated role in salads and coleslaw, but shine when they star in their own theater. One of my favorite ways to serve carrots is shredded, as the main ingredient in a salad. Of course most of us know the famous carrot salad with mayonnaise and raisins, but try this healthful, delicious carrot salad made simply with shredded carrots, jalapeno, lime juice and olive oil FineCooking.
Cooked carrots are sweet and delicious. Some believe that steamed carrots retain more nutrients than boiled carrots. But carrots can also be sautéed, grilled, and roasted (see recipe below). They are also fabulous in baked goods (see recipe below for carrot muffins).
Try adding a bit of shredded carrot (and zucchini) to your favorite marinara sauce as it cooks, then blend it smooth. The blended sauce becomes a bit orange, but the sweetness of the carrot helps to cut the acidity of the tomatoes in a delicious way. The kids will never know there are vegetables in their sauce. See recipes below for some other great ideas for cooked carrots.
Choose carrots with moist, bright green tops (when tops are included) that are under about 8” (after that they tend to get woody). The roots should be fairly uniform in shape and relatively smooth. Avoid any with pits, cracks or holes. Cut greens from roots, leaving about an inch or two of stem on roots, and place each separately, unwashed, in plastic in the refrigerator. The greens will deteriorate quickly, but the roots can last several weeks. Once the roots become limp or slimy they are no longer good to eat.
- - 1 bunch Holcomb carrots, well washed, tops trimmed to about 1 inch
- - 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- - For Dill Pesto:
- - ½ cup minced fresh dill
- - 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- - ¼ teaspoon salt
- - 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted
- - 4-5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400℉. Place 1 tablespoon oil on a rimmed baking sheet and using your fingers or a pastry brush, spread oil evenly over the surface of the pan. Place carrots in a single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle with second tablespoon olive oil and turn carrots to coat in oil. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and turn carrots. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until carrots are caramelized and tender.
- Meanwhile, in a small food processor, process dill, lemon juice, salt, and 4 tablespoons olive oil until it becomes a pesto consistency, If it is too thick, add another tablespoon of olive oil.
- Remove carrots from oven and arrange on a platter. Spoon pesto decoratively over carrots. Serve immediately.
This is a great fall recipe, perfect for lunch boxes, breakfasts or a quick snack.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Carrot Muffins Makes 12
– 1 1/4 cups organic gluten free quick oats
– 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 2 large organic pastured eggs
– 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
– 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
– 1/2 cup coconut sugar
– 1/4 cup avocado oil, plus 1 tablespoon
– 1/3 cup organic raisins
– 1 cup shredded carrots
1. Preheat oven to 325. Line muffins tins with paper liners.
2. Place quick oats in a food processor and process until very finely ground to a flour. Place in a medium bowl. Add pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk until well combined.
3. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, pumpkin puree, apple cider vinegar, coconut sugar, and avocado oil until well blended. Whisk egg mixture into flour mixture. Stir in raisins and shredded coconut.
4. Divide among muffin tin cups (they should be filled close to the top). Bake about 11-12 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Carefully turn out onto cooling rack and cool, right side up, until ready to serve.
I came up with this fall salad recipe that makes use of the raspberries and beets that are still plentiful in the fields. If you wish, you could sub in apples or pears for the raspberries. The toasted quinoa and almonds give the goat cheese and the salad a wonderful nuttiness and texture.
Beet & Raspberry Salad w/ Quinoa & Almond Crusted Goat Cheese Serves 4
– 1/3 cup uncooked quinoa , preferably sprouted
– 1/3 cup slivered almonds, roughly chopped
– 11 ounce package goat cheese
– 6 cups mixed salad greens
– 2 medium roasted beets, red or golden
– about 1/2 cup raspberries
– For maple vinaigrette:
– 2 1/2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
– 2 tablespoons Pure maple syrup, preferably dark or Grade B
– 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
– 1 tablespoon minced shallot
– 5 tablespoons avocado oil
1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Place quinoa and almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and mix together with your hands. Spray with olive oil spray and lightly season with salt. Bake for 5-6 minutes, stirring once, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
2. Make vinaigrette: Place champagne vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, shallot and avocado oil in a container long enough to contain the handle of a stick blender (or use a small blender or food processor). Blend until smooth and emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Open package of goat cheese and carefully remove goat cheese to a cutting surface. Cut goat cheese into 1/3” slices. Place on baking sheet with quinoa and almonds. Using your hands press quinoa mixture on the top, bottom and sides of goat cheese slices. Place on a plate until ready to use.
4. Toss greens with vinaigrette to taste. Place greens equally among four salad plates. Slice beets into 1/4” slices and then into strips. Divide beets and raspberries among salad plates. Top each salad with 2 slices of crusted goat cheese. Sprinkle with any remaining quinoa mixture. Serve immediately.