If you’re hunting for easy, delicious and impressive side dishes for Thanksgiving and the holidays, look no further than these Roasted Purple Carrots with Tahini. The color of these beauties alone will wow everyone at the table, connoisseurs included!
The idea for this recipe came to me a few weeks back at my local farmer’s market. I was having a conversation with one of the farmer’s about his beautiful purple carrots. They were a vibrant deep purple colour with streaks of orange piercing through the skin. In a way they reminded me of a tiger’s stripes. I was asking how he liked to prepare them. He said he uses them for soups and stews. I thought that was such a shame since their beautiful colours would be drowned-out by all of the other ingredients. I told him that I had bigger plans for his carrots and that I was going to figure out a way to showcase his beautiful produce by using the entire vegetable without wasting any part. The reality is that farmers go through a great deal of trouble before it can be sold to people like you or me. I always make a point of respecting that through my cooking.
When I returned home I stood in my kitchen and stared at the carrots aimlessly. I had no idea what I was going to do! I knew I wanted to keep it simple. That much was obvious. I also knew that since I just spent a pretty penny on these purple beauties, I was going to be very careful with the cooking process. Boiling was out of the question because the colours would bleed. Adding them to a salad would muddle them as well and I doubt I would be able to distinguish the unique flavour of purple carrots if they were eaten alongside other veggies (the truth is they taste almost exactly like regular carrots, if not a bit milder in taste). In the end, I opted for a gentle roast to keep the colours vibrant and textures soft with a bit of bite – think ‘al dente here! After all, I wanted to taste the carrot and the texture plays a big part in that.
What about the tops? Wasn’t quite sure what to do with those. I had never eaten carrot tops before and never came across them in any recipe books. I gave them a quick taste. They were earthy and had a mild carrot flavour. Quite delicious! However, they were fibrous and stayed in my mouth longer than I liked. Rather than using them in a pesto, I thought it might be nicer to infuse some EVOO with their flavour. Easy enough!
Lastly, to play off of the toothsome texture of the carrots and the earthiness of the carrot top oil, I thought a nice Tahini dressing would do the trick. It’s creamy, provides a beautiful cream color to the dish, especially with a few drops of green oil drizzled overtop, and can be made with a bit of fresh garlic which will add some real depth of flavor.
I have to say that I was very pleased with the way these turned out. Not only is the dish beautiful, delicious, easy (and Paleo), I feel as though I stayed true to my promise to the farmer. No word of a lie, I ate 4 of these carrots that night for dinner, nothing else. I was satisfied and I think my night vision improved ever so slightly!
Give them a go and let me know what you think in the comments below!