Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Roasted Carrots with Dates and Ginger

You have carrots just lying around in your vegetable bin...
Roast them with dates!

A couple of my friends have gotten into the Paleo diet in the last few years.  I have never tried it, but I appreciate that these friends have found the diet to be an effective way to lose weight/eat less processed food/feel better/learn to cook.  As an observer, while skeptical of most diets, I like that Paleo inspires new recipes and ways of eating (especially the plant-based recipes!).

A while back, one of these friends mentioned that he had tried and loved a Paleo recipe for roasted carrots and dates.  This friend has excellent taste in food, so I knew that his rave was meant to be taken seriously.  I made a mental note of the roasted carrot and date idea, and forgot about it for a few months.

The other day, I was at Cookbook in Echo Park, and I saw these beautiful dates:
They're from Bautista Family Organic Date Ranch, and after trying them, I can humbly suggest that they might be the Porsches of the date world.  They have a buttery, sweet, molasses-like taste with a perfectly creamy texture.  

So I had these dates... then I realized I had a ton of carrots in my vegetable drawer. I really don't eat carrots that often. Also, I'm generally not a huge fan of roasted carrot or glazed carrot dishes.  But the stars aligned ingredient-wise, and I was tempted to finally try the recipe.

I looked online, but I couldn't find the recipe my friend had described to me. I could've just asked him for it, but it's always more fun to try to figure something out on your own, right?

I'm pretty happy with the results. I think I'll be cleaning out my veggie drawer carrot surplus more often. 

Roasted Carrots with Dates, Ginger and Cumin
Serves 4

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
6-7 or 5 cups medium sized carrots, chopped into 1-inch wide chunks cut on the diagnol
5-6 medium sized dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1 inch ginger root, finely diced (use a teaspoon of ginger powder if you don't have fresh ginger)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cardamom (I'm obsessed, this is optional)
salt and pepper to taste
chopped cilantro or flat leaf parsley to garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/ 205 degrees Celsius (hey South African friends!)

In  a small pot or sauce pan, melt the coconut oil. Allow the oil to cool slightly

In a medium bowl, add the carrots, chopped date, and finely diced ginger root. Make sure your carrots are all chopped into roughly the same size so that they cook evenly. Pour the melted and cooled coconut oil over the carrot mixture and toss until everything is thoroughly coated (if your carrots are cold, the oil will solidify, but that's not a big deal).  Sprinkle the cumin, cardamom, salt, and pepper over the mix.  Toss the carrots and dates one more time.

On a lined baking sheet, spread out the carrot mixture.  Make sure the carrots are evenly spread out so that they brown on the tray, if they're all huddled together they'll steam. Bake in the oven for 7-8 minutes, take them out and stir the carrots about, and then place them back in the oven for 7-8 more minutes or until the carrots are nicely browned (browning times will depend on your carrots and your oven... just check on them every 6 minutes or so).

Garnish with chopped cilantro if you feel like a strong herby flavor to cut through the roasted sweetness. Flat leaf parsley is milder. You can skip both entirely if you're not down with fresh herbs.


This is for T.  I knew it was possible, but never accepted the possibility. 
We are bad dancers with no regrets. Love you, and miss you so much already.

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