We eat a lot of carrots at my house. I really mean A LOT. It’s typical for us to consume a 5-pound bag of carrots each week, no joke. I guess you could say that we really love carrots (and we must have spectacular nighttime vision due to all that Vitamin E we consume)!!!
I like to serve carrots in a variety of ways. My daughter eats carrot sticks with homemade hummus in her lunch every day. I cut carrots into sticks for her - I make a big batch of them every few days and they disappear quickly. No “baby carrots” in our house, cutting-up a full-size carrot into sticks tastes so much better! Occasionally, I’ll make a carrot-based soup, such as my Creamy Tomato-Fennel Bisque, which has some carrots puréed into the mixture, or my amazing Creamy Carrot-Quinoa Soup with Zesty Gremolata, which is perfect for Passover. But if I’m cooking carrots, I prefer to roast them.
Roasting vegetables brings out their sweetness. The natural sugars in the vegetables become more concentrated as the vegetable’s starch breaks-down in the high heat of the oven. This explains why roasting sweet potatoes (such as for my Za’atar-Spiced Sweet Potato Salad) yields sweeter results than boiling the same sweet potato, and the same applies for carrots. Plus, roasting is easy, it takes minimal ingredients other than the vegetable being roasted, and the cooking is basically fool-proof. That is, unless you walk away from your kitchen for too long, forgetting that you’ve got carrots roasting in the oven at a high temperature, and return to find only burnt offerings…don’t let that happen!
I made these Za’atar Roasted Carrots twice last week. I would’ve made them a third time, but I was afraid that our skin would begin to turn orange-ish from all of the carrots’ beta-carotene content! So instead, I roasted some fresh asparagus with the same za’atar on top, and it was equally delicious. Next time, I’ll make a mixture of carrots and asparagus, it will be a colorful addition to my dinner table.
Have you made your own za’atar yet? Just a few ingredients, it’s so simple! You could buy za’atar at the store or order it online, but I suggest that you take 5 minutes to make your own, using my recipe.
I’m on my way to my parent’s home today to celebrate the first two nights of Passover with my family. While I won’t be making these carrots during Passover (we abstain from eating sesame during the holiday), I will be roasting carrots sans za’atar this week, and will resume my za’atar roasted carrot obsession as soon as Passover is done! If sesame is welcome on your table this weekend - please share this dish with your family and friends. And may I suggest that you double the recipe?
Wishing you a relaxing weekend, full of delicious food, health & wellness.
Za’atar Roasted Carrots
Ingredients: (note - use organic whenever possible)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T za’atar
1 t maple syrup
dash of sea salt
1 pound carrots
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, za’atar, maple syrup and a dash of sea salt.
Wash the carrots and trim the ends. Cut the carrots into coins, 1/2”-thick, on the diagonal. Toss the carrots in the olive oil-za’atar mixture, coating the carrots completely.
Pour the carrots onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are golden brown on the edges.
Remove from the baking sheet to a serving bowl, scraping the burnt bits from the pan on top of the carrots. Serve warm or at room temperature. Carrots can be roasted a few hours ahead of serving, if desired.
recipe yields 3-4 side dish servings
double the ingredients, if desired; use 2 baking sheets to prevent over-crowding
leftovers keep well for 2-3 days in a covered container in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature before serving
substitute asparagus or fresh green beans for the carrots; decrease baking time to 15 minutes