Carrots are my go-to vegetable, the one I eat when I don't feel like eating any. It's probably because of their slight sweetness, their bright crunch when raw and their ability to be used in a variety of ways. Here are five ideas for making the orange — and sometime purple, yellow and red — vegetable shine.
Michelle Stark, Times food editor
Carrot Coconut Soup
The deep orange color of this simple soup is irresistible. To make, melt ½ cup butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 pounds peeled and chopped carrots, then season with salt, pepper and a pinch of curry powder. Cook until carrots are softer and start to brown. Add 1 large diced onion, cook for another minute or so, then add 1 quart vegetable stock. Stir, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer. Add 2 (15-ounce) cans coconut milk, and let simmer for another 15 minutes. Remove soup from the heat, let cool for 5 minutes, and using an immersion blender or a regular blender, blend until smooth. Then, return soup to the heat, season with more salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons chili sauce like Sriracha and stir. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro. Serves 8. Recipe from macheesmo.com
Carrot Cake Quinoa Cookies
These cookies taste like healthy morsels of carrot cake, combining classic carrot cake staples like walnuts and spices but using quinoa and oats as a binder instead of flour, and no butter or sugar. To make, start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside, then get out a large bowl. To the bowl, add 1 egg, ½ cup peanut butter, ¼ cup pure maple syrup, 1 medium mashed banana and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat together until smooth, then add ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup cooked quinoa, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon salt and combine well. Fold in ¾ cup shredded carrots and ¼ cup chopped walnuts. Drop 2 tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheet, then cook for about 15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes, then move cookies to a cool rack and cool completely. Makes 14-16 cookies. Recipe adapted from simplyquinoa.com.
Parmesan Roasted Carrots
To make, preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. In a large zip-top bag, add ¼ cup olive oil, 4 cloves minced garlic, 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, 1 to 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs and salt and pepper to taste. Add 4 to 5 cups baby carrots, and shake until they are coated with the mixture. Spread out onto the baking sheet, then cook for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Shake the pan around and toss with a spatula halfway through cooking. Remove from oven, and serve immediately with some fresh parsley. Recipe from iheartnaptime.net.
Carrot Salad with Honey-Lemon Dressing
This is a fresh and simple take on carrot salad, studded with golden raisins and the addition of celery root. Celery root is in fact the root of the celery plant, and once you peel away the unappealing outer layer, the soft white insides offer a bright celery flavor to any dish. To make this salad, whisk together 2 tablespoons canola oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 small minced shallot, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper in a large bowl. Add 2 cups shredded carrots, 1 cup peeled and shredded celery root, ¼ cup golden raisins and ¼ chopped walnuts. Toss to combine with the dressing and serve. This recipe makes 4 servings. Recipe from Eating Well.
Crustless Carrot Quiche
Carrots and quiche are an interesting combination. Shredded carrots add a sweet quality to the egg pie while also giving it some nice texture. To make, heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ½ of a small, finely chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup grated carrots, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon curry powder. Cook for another 5 minutes; mixture should be golden brown at this point. Remove from heat, then set aside and cool. In a medium bowl, whisk 4 eggs together with ⅔ cup milk. Stir into carrot mixture until combined, then pour into an 8- by 8-inch pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, top with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, a sprinkling of paprika and return to the oven to let bake for another 15 minutes. Serves 8 people. Recipe from food.com