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Fall Fest 2010: Yet Another Thanksgiving Side Dish

Posted Nov 23 2010 9:47pm
Mashed Potatoes, check.

Gravy, check.

Sweet Potatoes, check.

Rolls, check.

Carrots... Check!

I agreed to make carrots for Thanksgiving, but I was stumped for quite a while as to what exactly I was going to do with the carrots. It would be boring to make them the way I always do (or one of the ways I always do), but to be honest, I don't really love carrots cooked most other ways; you know, with a glaze or some other kind of sweet treatment. Nor do I really like creamed carrots, another option.

Enter roasting. With parsnips!

Roasting carrots is something I don't do very often, although I do enjoy them prepared in that way. The addition of parsnips adds extra color, flavor and texture to make it even more interesting. And the use of cumin is genius! At least I think so. I love cumin! Usually, it's combined with other spices, but it stands alone as the star flavor in this dish.

Just in case you need another last-minute addition to your Thanksgiving menu, this one's for you!

Cumin, Carrots and Parsnips
2 lbs carrots
1 lb parsnips
2 TBSP olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Peel the carrots and parsnips and cut into 3" strips. Be sure not to cut them too thinly, because they will burn (I speak from experience!). Place in a large bowl and drizzle with oil. Stir until all pieces are coated. Add spices and continue to stir until they are distributed throughout the vegetables. Divide the carrots and parsnips equally between 2 greased cookie sheets, and spread into a single layer. Place pans, on separate racks if necessary in a 450F oven and roast for 15 minutes. Use a spatula to flip all the vegetables, and if they are on two separate oven racks, switch them at this point. Continue roasting for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork.

The wonderful thing is that this recipe can be made ahead, which is why I made it today. My plan is to reheat it in a 350ish oven for 20-25 minutes or so on Thanksgiving Day. So if you have more time on Wednesday than you will on Thursday, it's ideal for you!

It's certainly not as QUICK as my usual method of microwave steaming, then mixing with melted butter and seasonings. And I have to admit that peeling and chopping all those vegetables took what seemed like forever! This is why I don't roast carrots on a regular basis, but it's worth it for Thanksgiving. AND because I can make them ahead, it saves considerable time on the actual day.

It is EASY, though, aside from the hard labor of peeling and chopping.

It's pretty CHEAP, aside from the massive quantities of vegetables, which totaled close to $4 for me. If I were just fixing it for my family for a regular weeknight dinner, I'd use half the vegetables or less, which puts it into perspective.

I CAN say that it is definitely HEALTHY! You know carrots are healthy, with all the vitamin A evident in that  vivid orange, but parsnips are also very good for you. They are great sources of folic acid, vitamin C, niacin and fiber, so eat up!

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