Saturday, May 16, 2015

On the virtues of prepared carrots

I’ve been taking a few shortcuts in the kitchen lately, and I really like it. I decided that I didn’t want to spend time julienning carrots, even with the food processor, so I’ve been buying bags of prepared julienned carrots. This has been a lifesaver to get a quick, nutritious side dish on our plates when I was low on inspiration. (One might also consider a bag of prepared cauliflower florets when making a savory cauliflower cake, or simply for roasting.)

I made this Bon Appétit recipe for sesame carrots that I really liked. Essentially, you cook the julienned carrots in a pan for a few minutes using sesame oil, then season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stupid-easy, and oh-so-good. I served this one with a tourtière that I had in the freezer.

I also made this recipe from The Kitchn for a carrot tahini salad with roasted spiced chickpeas. Not only was this delicious, but it kept really well (provided that the roasted chickpeas are stored separately in an air-tight container). I think it would be easy to adapt to what I have on hand, too, so I’ll keep this recipe handy. I served it here with quiche with quinoa crust.

For the roasted spiced chickpeas
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
1 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
pinch of salt and pepper

For the dressing
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. honey
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne (I used Korean pepper)
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. minced parsley
water to thin if necessary

For the salad
3 cups shredded carrots (from 3 to 4 medium-sized carrots)
½ small red onion, finely diced
½ cup raisins
1 cup fresh parsley, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 °F. Toss the chickpeas with the oil, spices, salt, and pepper. Place on a prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven until lightly browned and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Shake the pan several times throughout baking. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. (You might even leave them in a bit longer than 20 minutes if you want them really crunchy.)

Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. (You can do this either by hand or with an immersion blender. Personally, I like doing this in a jar with a lid.) Add water if the dressing is too thick. Taste and adjust seasonings if need be.

In a large salad bowl, toss the shredded carrots, onion, raisins, and parsley with the dressing. Mix well. Season with a little salt and pepper. Right before serving, top with the chickpeas and enjoy.

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