Bring some color to your wintertime dinner routine with this recipe for golden roasted carrots with herby green tahini and toasted pearl couscous.
January is a time for freedom in the kitchen. There are no big holidays to cater to. Produce options fall somewhere between limited and underwhelming, but with restriction comes creativity.
For me, January is also a good time to get back to cooking the foods that make me feel good. And generally, I feel a lot better when I eat a colorful array of vegetables.
These roasted carrots with green tahini have the most beautiful texture – salty, crispy edges, and soft, deliciously savory interiors. Nestled into a dollop of herby green tahini, made here with cilantro, green onions, and shallots, the flavors pop. The humdrum of another roasted orange something becomes novel and fresh.
To round out the dish, I added toasted pearl couscous, but pita, naan, or olive oil-drizzled sourdough would be perfect alongside, too.
Selecting and Roasting Carrots
Carrots with greens attached are fresher and have a lighter, snappier texture than the storage carrots sold without their greens. Try to find fresh carrots, if you can. If not, look for smaller carrots, no more than an inch and a half thick. Carrot greens can be sandy, so trim your greens and give them a good swish underwater. I use a vegetable scrubber instead of a peeler on my carrots, but do whatever you’re comfortable with.
To roast the carrots, cut the biggest carrots in half and toss everything with olive oil, cumin, red pepper, and salt. Roast undisturbed for 15 minutes, flip the carrots, and roast 5 – 10 minutes more. Keep a close eye at the end since things can go from golden to burnt in a hurry.
Herby Green Tahini
While the carrots roast, make the green tahini. This batch was made with cilantro, green onion, and lime, but flavors can be subbed and swapped as the season allows.
I’m eating less garlic these days and used a shallot instead, but if garlic is your friend, a small, single clove will do. Before blending, squeeze the lime juice and sprinkle salt over the shallot or garlic, and let it mellow while you prep everything else.
- 1 bunch carrots with greens attached, scrubbed with greens trimmed to 1/4-inch
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground cumin seed
- 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo or other red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 small clove garlic or 1 small shallot, peeled and rough chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems swap all or a combination of parsley, mint, basil, or dill
- 2 green onions, rough chopped with ends trimmed
- 1/2 cup tahini well-stirred
- 2 - 4 tablespoons water
- Pearl couscous,* toasted in olive oil and cooked according to package instructions (optional*)
- Cilantro leaves
- Lime wedges
- Aleppo pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Slice any large carrots in half lengthwise. Toss carrots with olive oil, cumin, and salt. Roast 25 - 30 minutes or until edges are golden and crisp, flipping carrots halfway through.
Meanwhile, toss garlic or shallot with lime juice and salt, and set aside for 5 minutes or so.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse to combine the garlic or shallot with lime juice and salt, cilantro or other herbs, and green onion. Scrape the sides and with food processor running, add tahini. Add more lime juice or salt to taste. Add water one tablespoon at a time until you have the desired consistency – mixture should be pillowy but not drippy. Note that the mixture will firm up considerably in the fridge.
Serve carrots over a dollop of green tahini, and alongside couscous, toast, or flatbread. Top with cilantro leaves and pepper flakes, and add a lime wedge to each plate.