I used to hate cooked carrots as a child. The taste was so repulsive to me that a bite of a boiled or steamed carrot would make me gag. That’s really the only taste I can think of that elicited a strong response from me. My grandparents and parents recounted my obsession with raw onion as a child more times than I care to count. I have a strong palette, a strong stomach, and I enjoy new tastes. It wasn’t until trying perfectly roasted carrots that I learned preparation was key. It always is, isn’t it?
I grew up riding horses, so carrots were not only the treat of choice, but my daily snack. I love raw carrots. I must have eaten a pound each of carrots and apples per day throughout my riding career. They’re so easy to pull out of the fridge for a quick and mess-less snack that I rarely get around to cooking them. When I take the time though, they really are wonderful slow-roasted with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. I’m reasonably certain I could subsist off of roasted vegetables for the remainder of my life.
Although I am perfectly content with carrots baked with a touch of olive oil, I was needing to clean out a few lingering items in the fridge one evening and came up with this recipe. It’s very fresh and simple, but mediterranean inspired with lemon and parsley and pine nuts. I threw some maitakes on the carrots mid-way through the baking process, and the result was a dish that could stand on its own. Packed with flavor, fiber, nutrients, and a variety of colors and textures, this side is wonderful served with meat or packed the next day as an impressive desk lunch.
Mediterranean Roasted Carrots
- 2 lbs of rainbow carrots, whole
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 4 oz maitake mushrooms
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- a pinch of cumin
- a pinch of cardamom
- a pinch of anise seed
- salt and pepper, to taste
- pine nuts, as garnish
- 2 TBS parsley, chopped
- 1 TBS mint, chopped
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss carrots with olive oil, cumin, cardamom, anise seed, salt and pepper.
- Line carrots up on a baking sheet, crowding them to avoid dryness.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until just starting to become tender.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and toss mushrooms with the carrots, being careful not to burn yourself.
- Replace baking sheet in the oven until vegetables are tender, another 10-20 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and garnish with parsley, mint, and pine nuts. Serve immediately.