There’s something funny that happens to me each year around this time and I’m wondering if anyone else out there experiences this. It seems that in one fell swoop, my whole mindset changes when the calendar flips over and announces the eleventh month.
Strangely, it never happens on the 29th, 30th or 31st of October. But come November 1, I’m psyched and ready to start thinking turkeys, stuffing, yummy side dishes and family get togethers. And, if all of a sudden, my husband starts sending Christmas melodies through the sound system, it doesn’t seem the least bit odd. In fact, it makes my heart soar just a bit.
Since this is The Café’s first post in November, I decided to help get you in the spirit too, and share one of our favorite sides. These Honey Maple Roasted Carrots are an easy veggie dish that can be thrown together a few hours in advance, then popped in a hot oven about 20-30 minutes before dinner. It’s always a crowd pleaser and, at the end of the meal, you’ll find there’s never a speck left in the bowl; so be sure to make plenty.
Plain old carrots are transformed into a sweet, sticky, scrumptious side that’s also amazingly healthy.
The carrots are sliced diagonally, giving them lots of surfaces to caramelize, and tossed with olive oil, maple syrup, honey, coriander, sea salt and fresh pepper. Next, I spread them out on a sheet pan (you can do all of this ahead of time) and pop the little guys in a piping hot oven. 25 minutes later they’re glistening and so beautifully caramelized, it’s almost impossible to resist sneaking one or two before they hit the serving bowl. Add a beautiful garnish of sesame seeds, pomegranate arils and fresh herbs and this simple dish will be sure to bring oohs and aahs when you proudly present them at the dinner table.
Although these are pretty enough for a holiday celebration, they’re so simple to put together that they’re also great for weeknight dinners.
Just peel and slice the carrots early in the day and they’ll be ready to be served for dinner with minimal effort. Oh, and like I said before, make plenty. Two pounds sounds like a lot of carrots but, I promise, they’ll be gone in a flash!
P.S. If you’re a bit intimidated by pomegranates, I got you covered. Here’s a tutorial on How to De-seed a Pomegranate in Less than a Minute, No Mess, No Fuss, No Water. I’ve gotten tons of emails from people who have tried this easy technique and couldn’t believe how well it works. They are now officially pomegranate aficionados! You can be too, but if you’re just not a pomegranate fan, these carrots are still quite scrumptious without them.
And if you’re looking for scrumptious sides, I’ve got one other idea for you and you can use your new-found pomegranate skills with this one too! Roasted Brown Sugar-Curry Butternut Squash, it’s another winner!
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- 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced on a long angle into pieces approximately 3 inches long
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives
- ½ cup pomegranate arils or seeds
- Preheat oven to 450˚F. Lightly oil a sheet pan.
- Place carrots on prepared pan and drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup and honey. Sprinkle with coriander, sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat (I like to use my hands for this to get them well coated, but a spatula will work too). Spread carrots out on pan in a single layer.
- Roast for 10 minutes, then stir to redistribute. Return to oven and roast for another 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Carrots are finished when they are tender and some of the edges are caramelized.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds and herbs over carrots and stir. Taste and season with a bit more sea salt and pepper, if needed.Transfer to a serving bowl and scatter with the pomegranate arils. Serve hot.