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!
- 5-6 Medium-sized Purple Carrots substitute regular variety if unavailable
- 2 tbsp tahini paste
- 2-3 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 4-6 tbsp tepid water approximately
- 1 clove fresh garlic grated
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- white and black sesame seeds for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Meanwhile, give the carrots a good scrub and rinse (no need to peel) and cut into quarters length-wise. Toss with 1 tsp EVOO and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Lay the carrots flat onto a parchment-lined roasting sheet. Roast at 375 for 1 hour. The carrots should have softened yet still have some bite to them. Cooking time will depend on the size of the carrots and the strength of the oven.
- In a small bowl or food processor, whisk together 2 Tbsp Tahini Paste, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 clove grated garlic and a pinch of kosher salt. Slowly add in the water tbsp at a time until the Tahini loosely coats the back of a spoon. Measurements will inevitably vary for this.
- Trim the green tops from the carrots and add them to a mortar and pestle. Bash them vigorously until they form a chunky paste. Pour in 1/8 cup of olive oil and stir thoroughly to combine. Allow the mixture to sit for 1 hour at room temperature.
- Line a mason jar with cheesecloth. Wrap an elastic band around the top of the jar to secure the cloth in place. Spoon the oil mixture overtop of the cloth. Using the spoon, gently press the oil through the cheesecloth until all of the oil has passed through to the bottom of the jar. You should be left with slightly green oil that has an earthy yet mild carrot flavour.
- Store in a sealed mason jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Remove from fridge before using, allow it to come to room temperature and use it to flavour various dishes.
- Dollop or smear the Garlic Tahini onto a serving platter. Arrange the roasted carrots overtop and drizzle with Carrot-Top oil. Garnish with White and Black Sesame Seeds.