Let braised carrots be the star
Carrots are delightful as a mealtime star, and I have a favorite technique that makes these carrots perfectly tender without going too soft.
During the cooler months when I actually feel like turning on my oven, I often braise vegetables in a covered dish in the oven, and then uncover them to finish roasting. This technique makes the vegetables tender, especially the carrots, but far from mushy.
Cumin is a spice that I often end up burying with myriad other spices, but in this dish I let it stand alone. Its flavor shines with the mellow flavor of the carrots. Add in some earthiness from the wild rice and chickpeas, and the dish comes together nicely. But don’t be fooled; the carrots are still the star.
While I’ll often eat this warm salad for dinner on its own, it’s also amazing as lunch leftovers or as a hearty side dish. If you can, get your hands on a bunch of rainbow carrots to make this recipe — the color of this dish becomes even more beautiful!
Cumin-Roasted Carrots with Wild Rice and Chickpeas
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
5 cups sliced carrots, ¼-inch thick
½ medium white onion, minced
2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed (if using canned)
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups cooked wild rice or wild rice blend
¼ cup pepitas
1 ounce feta cheese
In a small skillet, heat the cumin seeds over medium heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Place in a spice grinder or use a mortar to grind the cumin seeds into a powder. (You should have 1 scant tablespoon of ground cumin.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a roasting pan, combine the sliced carrots, minced onion, chickpeas, olive oil and cumin powder. Stir to coat carrots with cumin and oil. Pour the vegetable broth and lemon juice into pan and cover with tin foil. Roast carrots for 30 minutes until tender, remove foil, and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until carrots are tender.
Remove carrots from oven and toss with wild rice, pepitas and feta cheese. Serve warm. Serves 4 as a main dish.
Per serving: 428 calories; 17 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 36 percent calories from fat); 57 g carbohydrates; 12 g sugar; 6 mg cholesterol; 733 mg sodium; 17 g protein; 12 g fiber.