Growing up, cooked carrots were one of my no-go foods.
Truthfully, most foods were on that list. This seems almost impossible to believe now but I was an extremely picky eater as a child. I simply refused to eat.
So every night, after my parents and sister had finished their dinner, I got moved to the kitchen counter and a timer was set for the amount of time I had in which to finish my meal while my mom cleaned up.
What happened when that timer went off? I never found out 😉
Eventually I grew out of this phase, thank the lord, and became the 7-square-meals-a-day gal I am now.
But I never lost my assumption that cooked carrots = tasteless mush.
That ended two-ish summers ago when roasted carrots started making their rounds at acclaimed restaurants across the city – ABC Kitchen, Spotted Pig, et. al.
My mother found a recipe for one of the many renditions, made it for a summer cookout and the rest is history. I became instantly smitten.
These carrots bear many differences from the cooked carrots of my past. First of all, they’re whole, multicolored carrots not baby nubs. Second, they’re tumbled in a rub of cumin and other smoky spices and roasted in a copious amount of olive oil. Third, they’re topped with a tangy vinaigrette and, most importantly, gorgeous, thick slices of perfectly ripe avocado.
Nothing about the above paragraph is negotiable, mind you. This is exactly how roasted carrots should be prepared, always – at least in my book.
Of course, you can add other toppings as well. My mother adds crumbled feta. Smitten Kitchen, whose recipe is reproduced below, tops them with yogurt, sprouts and sunflower seeds.
If roasted carrots aren’t your thing, I insist you make these immediately and prepare to have your mind blown.
Cumin roasted carrots with avocado
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
For the carrots
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, plus more to taste
Red chile flakes, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 pounds thin-to-medium carrots, scrubbed, not peeled (the mixed colors are not necessary but are very Instagramable)
For the vinaigrette
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice, preferably fresh
2 tablespoons lemon juice, preferably fresh
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 perfectly ripe avocados, sliced lengthwise
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and add 1/4 cup water.
Combine cumin, coriander, thyme, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic, red wine vinegar and olive oil in a large bowl, whisking to blend. Add carrots and toss to coat.
Spread on the baking sheet so there’s no overlap, drizzling with any extra seasoning, and cover the sheet tightly with foil. Roast for 25 minutes, then take off the foil and roast for an additional 35 minutes until carrots are lightly browned and tender but not falling apart.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
To serve carrots, top with vinaigrette and slices of avocado.