If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve probably already seen this little gem, but for those who haven’t, may I present the “anatomy of a carrot”. I know, I’m easily amused, but when I saw this at the Farmer’s Market, well, you know… had to have it. After photographing, tweeting and sharing all over Social Media — and getting far more interest in this picture than any recipe I’ve ever posted, it was time to actually do something with these ruddy root vegetables. Something very anti-ho-hum. Something simple that delivers a ton of unexpected flavor. Roasted Spiced carrots with pistachios.
Carrots tend to be more of a background vegetable. The understudy in your pot roast, second string alongside your roast chicken, JV team in your soup. Very rarely do they sit front and center demanding your attention. These do.
As with any vegetable, roasting transforms their flavor and texture from an afterthought on a crudite platter into a tender, savory bite with depth and subtle sweetness.
But it’s the spice that makes these carrots POP! Kind of a Middle Eastern inspired blend with cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. I know. Cinnamon? Yep! It’s a spicy tingly trip that actually had me reaching for seconds of the carrots before I had even started on the main course.
The crunchy pistachios and feathery cilantro finish this dish in style. It’s dressy enough for company and easy enough for a Tuesday night! I love that kind of versatility, don’t you?
Spiced carrots with pistachios
- 1 pound baby carrots
- 1/2 pound spring onions or regular onions
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons canola vegetable or grapeseed oil
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
- lemon wedges for serving
Preheat the oven to 450°.
Scrub the carrots to remove any dirt and trim the green parts. Depending on the size of the carrots, cut the large ones in half so that they're roughly the same diameter as the smaller carrots, for more even cooking times (I had lots of different sized ones). Trim the root and stem from the onions, peel and slice into wedges. Transfer carrots and onions to a large, rimmed baking sheet.
In a small bowl combine the paprika, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, salt, pepper and sugar. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables and toss with your hands until they are well coated. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the vegetables and toss again so that they are evenly coated. Spread the vegetables out on the baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake the vegetables for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with the pistachios, mint and cilantro. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze on the vegetables for a bright hit of citrus.