Can you believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner?
I mean…it’s practically here and I know a few friends who have already started their cooking. That assumes they had their menu planned. Ingredients purchased. And generally had their s*** together, right?
If that doesn’t sound like you, no worries, me neither. Procrastinators unite!
Today’s post is all about easy – easy side dish, easy to make it look like you tried, easy to transport and reheat and serve. Whether you’re hosting or bringing dishes to a friend or family member’s home, this simple holiday appetizer will bring some bright color and flavor to your table.
If you’ve been following along with the blog for a while, you know that every month (or almost every month) I hop into a fun recipe challenge called The Recipe ReDux. This month’s theme was all about naturally colored holiday treats and trimmings. I’m not one for baking – I outsource that task every chance I get. But I knew I could come up with some colorful, festive side dishes to make up for it.
I’ve always loved carrots and feel like they get skipped over when the holidays roll around. Sweet potatoes, winter squash, green beans in any form, even Brussels sprouts – they all seem to take the center stage. Not this year! The prep is unbelievably simple. No peeling required, just a good scrub and you can season ’em up and pop ’em in the oven. Oven space is a precious commodity around the holidays, so if needed they can be made the day before and reheated just before serving.
Added bonus: This recipe can help cut down on food waste. If you’re purchasing carrots with the tops still attached, they go into the gremolata that gets dished on top. If you don’t buy carrots with the greens, but have leftover parsley or garnish from another dish, that can easily take it’s place. Stems and all can get chopped and mixed to reduce the amount of food that gets tossed in the trash during a holiday cooking extravaganza.
And if you’re not familiar with gremolata, don’t stress. It’s just a fancy name for a mixture traditionally made with parsley, lemon zest, garlic, and anchovies. I put a vegan spin on it by skipping the anchovies and adding half a jalapeño for a little kick. It compliments the cumin and chili powder on the carrots, while the lemon brightens up the flavor. Mix and match other spices if you want to, this simple dish is all about what you want to make it.
So there you have it – one more option for a simple holiday side dish! Roasted carrots are great any time of the year (IMHO) so feel free to refresh this recipe throughout the year and make it a go-to option no matter the occasion.
What’s your favorite holiday dish that you always look forward to?
Spiced Carrots with Zesty Gremolata
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
12 medium carrots, with greens
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup chopped carrot greens
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove the carrot tops and set aside. Wash and dry the carrots. Cut thicker carrots in half if needed for even roasting. Toss with the shallots, garlic, olive oil, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender, flipping once.
As the carrots are roasting, wash and dry the carrot greens. Roughly chop to yield 1/4 cup chopped greens, then mix together with the chopped cilantro, jalapeño, lemon juice, and lemon zest. When the carrots are done roasting, drizzle the lemon juice from the remaining half of the lemon over them and toss to combine. Transfer the carrots to a serving platter and top with the gremolata. Serve immediately.
If purchasing carrots without greens, parsley may be used instead.
And while you’re here, don’t forget to check out some of the other recipes that ended up in this month’s Recipe ReDux! It’s the first and only recipe challenge created by dietitians.