Roasting is one of my favorite ways to prepare vegetables. It brings out the sweetness and provides a rich taste. You’ve probably made oven fried potatoes and sweet potatoes but have you tried carrots cooked this way? Not the fake baby carrots cut by a machine to look uniformly rounded on both ends, but real mature, full size carrots cut into finger long sticks or irregularly shaped real baby carrots from a local farmer or farmers’ market.
In my award-winning book, The Garden of Eating: A Produce Dominated Diet & Cookbook I teach you how to use master recipes and a theme and variation approach to cooking that can revolutionize the way you think about recipes. The easily memorized ratios and basic procedures allow you to internalize the steps and ingredients so that within a short time you’ve memorized the recipes you use most. This helps you work more efficiently in the kitchen, multi task with greater ease, and know ahead of time that a recipe will turn out great because you’re wroking from a template, even if you make substitutions.
I often encourage my students to take a master recipe and make it every week for a month, changing one or two elements each time. In the case of the recipe below, you could use different carrots on different weeks (regular orange colored carrots, multi colored purple, yellow, and orange combined, or just one of the unusual colored ones, or use real baby carrots, or a carrot parsnip combination). You could use different herbs or spices each time (rosemary, cinnamon, apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice or yellow mustard seeds). Doing this familiarizes you with the recipe and gives you variety with the structure of a recipe.
The Garden of Eating contains master recipes for cooking with eggs, fish, poultry (whole or cut up into fryer parts), red meat, roasts, burgers, meatballs, for a long list of vegetables and fruits, and for condiments, such as homemade nut butter, salad dressings and sauces. The more you make each master recipe, and the more often you do it, the more you build your recipe repertoire so that eventually you become a walking recipe Rolodex. You could be away from home, visiting friends or relatives, and still successfully make side dishes, main dishes, or entire meals from the recipes etched in your brain. It’s a fun thing to do or to work toward.
Use locally grown carrots if you can. I used multi colored carrots from a
local, organic farmer here in Phoenix, AZ: Bob McClendon of McClendon’s
Select Citrus or Jana Anderson of Pinnacle Farms. He’s a former pharmacisist turned organic farmer. Btw: These carrots do taste different from the standard orange ones.
I invite you to try this recipe and many of the others on this site and to check out my book. It has recipes to suit so many diets from gluten free and dairy free to paleo and primal diet and from real foods and whole foods omnivorous diets. Many vegetarians and vegans like my book, even though they don’t eat meat, because it focuses so much on practical tips, techniques, and delicious ways to get more vegetables and fruits into their daily and weekly diets.
Roasted Carrot Fries
Prep: 20 minutes/ Cooking: 30 to 35 minutes/Yield: 8 servings
Root vegetables rarely get the attention they deserve. When cut into french fry like pieces and roasted, they make a great alternative to French fries. Although carrots rank high on the glycemic index, they have a low-glycemic load because of their bulky nature, so don’t pass them by.
These fries pair well with fish, poultry, or meat and a fibrous cooked or raw leafy greens dish, such as burgers, steaks, roasts, cut up chicken fryer parts, or pork chops.
Make enough to serve 2 to 3 days in row. Leftovers taste delicious warmed in a toaster oven or served close to room temperature in a pack lunch. Don’t be shy give the variations a try.
Notes: Do not use the uniformly shaped fake baby carrots sold pre-washed in bags. They don’t have as much flavor or nutrition as whole carrots washed, peeled and cut closer to when you plan to use them. Real baby carrots are irregular in shape and nothing like the imposters. Do not use olive oil to roast vegetables. It is easily damaged by temperatures above 350F.
2 to 2 1/2 pounds carrots, scrubbed, rinsed, peeled and trimmed
2 tablespoons avocado oil, coconut oil, or ghee
2 teaspoons pie spice, cinnamon or dried, powdered rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground black or white pepper, optional (omit if using pie spice or cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon finely ground, unrefined sea salt (Celtic, Lima, Himalayan, or Redmond Real Salt)
1 serving (about 3/4 cup): 119 calories, 2 g protein, 14 g carbohydrate (6 g fiber), 5 g fat, 53 mg calcium, 61 mg sodium