Well, well, well. What do we have here? The unassuming carrot disguised as, dare I say it, something delicious?! Carrots can get a bad rap for being plain and boring, but, as with anything, it's all about how they're prepared. For starters, let's just go ahead and skip the peas and carrots mix that's served in every cafeteria everywhere in a (possibly futile?) attempt to get every kid to eat their veggies. No. Just no. You might as well just roll out balls of green and orange clay and serve that instead. Can you tell I'm not a fan?? However, something I am a fan of, is the simple method of roasting veggies with a little olive oil and salt. I'm literally convinced that cooking things this way would make even cardboard taste good. When it comes to creating delicious roasted carrots, you'll definitely want to start with fresh ones (not frozen or canned) for an optimal flavor outcome. You'll also want to make sure that you don't overcook them. In fact, I would go out on a limb and say you should even slightly undercook them to help them maintain a bit of their signature crunch. Last but not least, fancy them up a bit with a few simple toppings and you'll have a dish (perfect on it's own or served as a side along with roast chicken) that's dressed up and ready for fall.
ROASTED CARROTS & COUSCOUS
- 5-6 small carrots, ends trimmed (you can leave a little of the green bit on) and sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 shallot, cut into wedges
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup feta, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon each fresh parsley and dill, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups cooked couscous
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a cast iron skillet, or on a baking sheet, spread out your carrots and the shallot. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until the veggies are golden brown and the carrots can easily be pricked with a knife. You want them to be soft but not mushy and with just a bit of crunch so make sure you don't overcook them.
While the veggies roast, prepare your couscous, if you haven't already. I always follow the directions on the box, but instead of adding butter, I use a chicken bouillon cube for flavor.
Once the veggies are done baking, plate your dish. Spread out a bed of couscous on your serving plate. Then, sprinkle on the feta. Arrange the carrots and shallots on top. Finish everything off with the walnuts and fresh herbs. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
This dish makes a perfect, light meal on it's own, or as a hearty side dish. It would pair well with roast chicken or pork, or would even be great as a Thanksgiving side.
Instead of the carrots, feel free to use beets, or, do a mix of carrots and beets.
The green tops of the carrots are edible and they do get nice and crispy and crunchy while roasting, tasting similar to a kale chip (in my opinion).