Sunday, July 10, 2016

Maple Sesame Roasted Carrots

I had an eye opening experience this winter when, deep in the throes of meat and potato season, I realized I was eating a disproportionate amount of protein and carbs as compared to vegetables. The star of the show I was calling dinner featured juicy steak, crispy chicken, or some kind of amazing pasta dish - and then onto each plate I would place the token vegetable.

A spoonful of frozen mixed veggies, some sorry ass boiled broccoli, carrots, or cauliflower (if I was feeling ambitious), or a scoop of pickled beets would take up tiny slivers of space on the dinner plate while constantly being overshadowed by the much sexier array of main dishes and sides I was spotlighting.

It occurs to me, this is familiar territory... myself at grade 7 dances. While the pretty girls were asked to slow dance to Stairway to Heaven, I sat on the bench and adjusted the tape on my glasses.

Lonely. Nerdy. Forgotten.

People, think about the message we've been sending the carrot! 

Well verily, just as I blossomed from a shy 7th grader to become the bastion of fabulousity you know and love today, so too shall the carrot! No longer a scrawny afterthought on the side of a plate, with a little TLC, I've turned the lowly carrot into a Goddess of culinary supremacy!


 And the carrot shall rise!

In all seriousness, this dish is absolutely spectacular. I served it to my husband as the main event last night and though he was somewhat icy at first over the prospect of getting a plate full of carrots and rice, once he got into it, he was raving. And not in a bad way.

The carrots roast to a tender perfection and then are slathered in a sesame maple glaze and roasted again until the glaze gets sticky. Served over Jasmine rice with more of the sesame maple glaze, salted peanuts, and cilantro, you get a perfect balance of sweet and salty on the palette and, I promise, you won't have left overs!

I love this dish so much, I would totally ask it to dance. Only to Tupac. Because hip hop.

Try this, please - and let me know if you do...

Maple Sesame Roasted Carrots
Visit the printable recipe here: Maple Sesame Roasted Carrots

Serves: 2 as a main dish, 4 as a starter or side
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar  
  • 2 tbsp Tamari soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch chili pepper flakes
  • 12 carrots, peeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • roasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Shake the first 6 ingredients together in a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Toss the carrots, whole, in the olive oil, place each on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with the salt.
  4. Roast for app 45 minutes turning periodically until they're browning on all sides.
  5. Remove from the tray to a large bowl and pour have of the sesame sauce you made earlier over the carrots, toss well, place back on the baking sheet, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and return to the oven. Roast an additional 5-7 minutes, watching carefully so they don't burn, until the sauce has caramelized onto the carrots. 
  6. Serve the carrots on plates over a bed of cooked Jasmine rice (as per the photo). Drizzle equal amounts of the reserved sauce over each plate and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and cilantro.

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