The wonderful carrot – the likely runner-up to the onion as the most used vegetable in the kitchen. (To be honest, I’m guessing on that. No officially official research done here.) Carrots are popular mostly as a supporting role; adding texture or depth of flavor to an already outstanding dish. But in my opinion, all vegetables need a dish putting their individual taste on center stage … even the carrot and, of course, its beautiful greens.
Though carrots can be found all year round at the market, they are generally a cool weather crop. And as the weather can’t quite decide what to do with itself in Minnesota where I live, carrots seem like the perfect vegetable to enjoy right now. I’ve been playing around with this recipe for awhile this spring, and got around to finalizing it this past week.
It has been a weird few weeks for me. I have been in and out of my kitchen groove, same as the weather has been going in and out of wanting to be spring and wanting to be summer. This fluctuation of motivation bother me to no end when I’m in my Type-A-must-have-control-and-understand-everything-mode. Why does it bother me? I worry that my love of preparing food is faltering. I worry that my inspiration is waning. I worry that my health will suffer. When really, it’s just life ebbing and flowing. However, there is another side to me, on that blossomed when I had kids. It’s the go-with-the-flow mode. (I had to develop this side of myself just to survive in the early years of motherhood!) When I’m in this space, the fluctuation around my love of preparing food doesn’t bother me. It allows me to be settled in the fact that, in time, I will be inspired to get back into the kitchen full swing soon. Because, really, I know I will.
Inspiration to get back in there came back to me in the oddest of forms this week – my sourdough starter. I looked at that poor near-death (because I hadn’t fed it in over a week) bacteria culture and knowing it was near demise, I decided to bake with it pronto. (I bake an Einkorn sourdough loaf for my kids a few times a month.) That little baking escapade suddenly had me baking zucchini chocolate bread, walnut-crusted chicken, avocado cucumber soup, green beans, and these carrots all before 3PM. Woah. Consider the rut ended.
If you read this blog from time to time, you know that I’m a huge proponent of buying root vegetables such as beets and carrots with their greens attached if possible. This assures that you are getting the freshest carrots possible (greens are removed when they wilt and decompose, yet the roots are still sold). Fresher carrots also means sweeter carrots. As carrots age, they tend to get quite bitter.
When you’re preparing this dish, give your carrots a good scrub, but do your body a favor and resist the urge to peel them. Many of the carrot’s nutrients lie just beneath the skin.
I hope you enjoy!
- Carrots – Choose carrots that are organic with greens attached if possible. Give them a good scrub, but resist the urge to peel them as many of the nutrients lie in the skin. Interestingly, according to Jo Robinson, author of “Eating on the Wild Side,” carrots are actually more nutritious (in terms of beta-carotene) once they are cooked!
- Olive Oil – I recently learned from Dr. Mercola (read article here) that many of the olive oils from Europe contain very little olive oil at all but rather other less expensive oils like canola. When buying olive oil, stick with olives grown and processed in California.
Special Diet Recipe Modifications:
- SCD – This recipe is not “legal” for the first three months when seeds are removed. Outside of those three months, it is allowed.
- Vegan– Use maple syrup instead of honey.
- Whole30 – Omit honey from pesto.
- 8 medium-sized carrots, sliced into ¼ inch slices (about 3 cups)
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil (can substitute melted coconut oil, butter or ghee)
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepita seeds)
- 2 cups carrot top greens, thoroughly cleaned, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (organic lemon if possible)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon sea or himalayan salt
- Optional add-ins: ½ cup cilantro and/or roasted corn kernels
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Mix carrot slices with oil and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes.
- While carrots are roasting, place pumpkin seeds in a processor and pulse until broken up into small pieces. Next, add the rest of the pesto ingredients and blend until smooth. You made need to add a little water (a tablespoon or two) to thin the pesto to your liking.
- When the carrots are done roasting mix with the pesto and serve warm.