Roasted Carrots with Orange Tahini Sauce and Pomegranate

carrot bunch
carrots on parchment paper
roasted carrots, orange tahini sauce and pomegranate

The coffee was lukewarm, making my stomach feel slightly oceanic. It was comfortable inside, the smell of books filling the air. I looked out the window - fog hanging low, branches bare; the field in the distance stripped of its vibrant green. December always makes my heart ache a little. 

The cafe was busy, so I opted for a big, comfortable chair. I turned back to the reason I was there in the first place and opened to the winter section. It was the book I was desperately trying to at least partly devour during my short visit to the book store. 

When I first laid eyes on it, my heart skipped a beat. Photograph upon photograph of beautiful food, landscapes, quiet and slow living. Then I read her writing. She spoke like I felt. Her appreciation for food, wine and life gave me pause. A much needed pause in my generally harried days. 

Coffee long abandoned, I read, I imagined, I filled myself up with as much as I could. It was a sweet hour. For only a short while, I was teleported to the sleepy town of Medoc, where people spoke of mussels, wine and weather. 

Mimi Thorrison is my favorite blogger, turned author. Her love and appreciation for cooking seasonal food from scratch has provided much influence over the years. And granted that she cooks French food with lots of cream, butter and flour, her approach has nonetheless inspired me to look to the seasons when I cook and use what’s available. Her cooking philosophy and approach much match mine by keeping things simple and letting ingredients shine through in all their glory.

So this is exactly how I approached this roasted carrot recipe. I just took what I had recently purchased at the market and made it work. Carrots, pomegranate and citrus are all in season right now and a quick tahini sauce, marries all the flavors beautifully. Since winter is cold and grey, these bright orange carrots and shiny red pomegranate seeds provide some much needed warmth and color.

roasted carrots with orange tahini dressing and pomegranate
roasted carrots (9 of 15).jpg
roasted carrots with orange tahini dressing and pomegranate

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roasted carrots with orange tahini sauce and pomegranate

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • roasting time: 20 minutes

  • yields: 4 servings


Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches thin carrots, greens trimmed and cut in half

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

  • 2 tbsp runny tahini

  • 1/4 cup orange juice

  • 4 tbsp olive oil divided

  • 1/4 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro


Equipment:

  • 2 baking sheets

  • medium mixing bowl

  • optional: use blender

  • whisk

  • parchment paper


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide carrots between 2 sheets and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Line them up face down.

Roast for 10 minutes, flip carrots to face up, and switch oven racks so both sheets of carrots cook roast evenly. Roast for another 10-15 minutes until desired softness. (I like mine to still have a bit of a bite)

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl or blender, combine remaining ingredients aside from pomegranate seeds and cilantro to create tahini sauce.

Once carrots are finished roasting, lay carrots on serving platter, pour over tahini sauce, chopped cilantro and pomegranate seeds.


Take roasted carrots to a new level with this flavorful, creamy tahini sauce, topped with finely chopped cilantro and pomegranate seeds. They’re a feast for the eyes and the taste buds! Bonus, they’re vegan, paleo and whole 30 approved! #calmeats #paleo #whole30 #vegansides #paleosides #vegansides #whole30sides #roastedcarrots #carrots #realfood #glutenfreesides #dairyfreesides #tahini #pomegranate



Paleo Cardamom Carrot Muffins

paleo cardamom carrot muffins
paleo cardamom carrot muffins

I’m often astounded at how much there is to learn about cooking and how I’ve only just begun scratching the surface. So many ingredients to explore and numerous spices still yet to be tasted. Admittedly it’s a slow process. But cooking with new ingredients is an exploration. Not everything will turn out but it's in the process where the fun and frustration lie.

It took me some time to come around to cardamom. If you've not ventured in to the cardamom world yet, I highly recommend you do. Before I started getting fairly serious about cooking, I had no idea what it was about. It sounded intimidating and certainly not a spice I thought I'd be using in my cooking. 

paleo cardamom carrot muffins

Well I was wrong. Cardamom is a surprisingly versatile spice and works in sweet and savory dishes. Its smell and taste sets it apart in the spice world. My first attempt at playing around with cardamom was curry – an obvious one. I was shocked at just how distinct and flavorful the sauce was. It was one of those: “why didn’t I know about this sooner?” moments.

Since then I experimented with it a handful of times and was burning to use it in a new recipe. With a surplus of almond and coconut flours I decided maybe some baking would be in order. 

I rummaged through the cabinets and fridge in hopes that something would inspire me. While tearing things out and shoving them back in, I caught a glimpse of a carrot so I it dawned one me - cardamom carrot muffins. Everyone loves muffins, so why not? They're perfect as a breakfast food or snack. I figured carrots would keep the batter nice and moist and add some texture as well. Plus, vegetables in baked goods are always a good idea.

It worked beautifully with the cardamom and while I was at it, decided some raisins may work well too. So that's how cardamom carrot muffins were born and quickly became a favorite treat. 

Chances are, if you're following a gluten free/paleo lifestyle you likely have all these ingredients already on hand. Coconut and almond flour are absolute staples in my house and I always have them in my pantry

paleo cardamom carrot muffins

paleo cardamom carrot muffins

  • Prep time: 5 minutes

  • Total cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup almond flour

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour

  • 5 tbsp melted coconut oil

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp cardamom

  • 4 organic eggs at room temperature

  • 1 cup organic shredded carrots (about 2 medium)

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 2 tbsp organic raisins

Equipment: 

  • large mixing bowl

  • spatula

  • muffin tin

  • muffin tin lineres

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix well. You can use a whisk but I found that just using a spatula and mixing everything well is enough. 

Line muffin tin with liners and pour in batter. Bake for 25 minutes.

Let cardamom carrot muffins cool completely before serving. They taste even better the next day!


Cardamom makes everything better and these decision muffins are no exception. Get a mouthful of flavor with no gluten or dairy. These cardamom muffins re a perfect breakfast or treat any time of the day. #muffins @calmeats #cardamommuffins #paleobreakfast #paloerecipes #glutenfreebreakfast #glutenfree #glutenfreebakin

Carrot Noodles with Almond Sesame Sauce

carrot noodles in almond sauce
carrot noodles with almond sesame sauce
carrots noodes with almond sesame sauce

Growing up, the food we ate was pretty standard to the region. I ate Romanian food in Romania and German food in Germany. Simple as that. 

While watching American TV shows and movies, I would marvel at actors eating pizza and peanut butter sandwiches but most intriguing of all was a weird white container food. What was that people ate out of those interesting looking containers and why the sticks? Food eaten with sticks was such a far out concept that in my mind it was just something that Americans did. Looking back, I was so naive, it's laughable but I just didn't know. 

My first introduction to Chinese food was anticlimactic. It wasn't as marvelous as it appeared on screen and there weren't even any sticks involved. Hmmm. But then there was this dish. Noodles, a creamy sauce, sesame seeds (I learned what they were later). It kind of blew my mind. I couldn't get enough of it. I ate until my stomach rebelled and still I wanted more. 

Ever since I came in contact with peanut butter when I was about 14, I fell head over heels in love with it. I kid not, I could and have eaten an entire jar sans utensils in about 3 days. Well there may have been a spoon involved when my finger no longer reached. Yup it's true and I'm not ashamed to admit it. The stuff made my brain crazy happy. 

But back to the noodles. They were spectacular in every way. Since I started eating closer to paleo, I don't eat peanut butter as much as I now have a new vice. Almond butter. If you're used to peanut butter, it will be a bit of a transition, but I treat nut butters the way I treat wine. I like it all. 

So here I am, craving sesame noodles. So what to do when I really want a food that's completely off limits? If I give in to my craving, I will end up with a week's worth of pain. I rummaged through the fridge determined to paleofy the hell out of this dish and went to work.

First I tried it with zucchini noodles. Mehhh not that great. It was missing something. The noodles weren't quite hearty the way traditional noodles are. Then I spiralized a few carrots and tried it again. There it was...the taste I was looking for. A hearty noodle that could hold up to the almond sauce. While taste tasting these, I may have eaten 1/2 a jar of almond butter but it's part of the job, right? Yes, taste testing is so laborious. 

Let's be serious, though. Next time you're in the mood for sesame noodles, but trying to be nice to your gut and not send yourself through misery's door, try these almond carrot noodles. Oh and I forgot to mention how quick they are to make. I think I'm gonna go make another batch right now. I'm in the mood. 

carrot noodles with almond sesame sauce

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carrot noodles with almond sesame sauce

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 5 minutes

  • makes: 2-4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

  • 1 tsp coconut aminos

  • 3 tbsp almond butter

  • 1/2 tsp lime juice

  • 5 tbsp water

  • pinch salt

  • tiny pinch garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp fish sauce (skip if vegan)

  • 4-5 large carrots spiralized

  • 1 tsp coconut oil

  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

  • optional: scallions for topping

Equipment

  • small mixing bowl

  • spiralizer

  • small frying pan

Directions

In a small mixing bowl combine the first 8 ingredients and stir well. Set aside. 

Preheat pan on medium heat. Add coconut oil along with spiralized carrots. Cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently until carrots have softened a little. Remove from heat and add sauce. Mix well. 

To plate add carrot noodles with sauce to plate and top with sesame seeds and scallions. 


carrot noodles.jpg

 

 

Heirloom Roasted Carrots with Lemon Tahini Dressing

Heirloom Roasted Carrots with Lemon Tahini Dressing

I happen to love fall! And I mean a lot. I'm a sucker for everything pumpkin, fall produce and all the wonderful things that come with the season. I know technically we're still in late summer, but who are we kidding, it feels like fall in my part of the country. 

So when I spotted these heirloom carrots at my farmer's market, I wanted to do something special with them and preserve their sweetness and beauty and let them stand on their own, rather than combining them in a dish. So here is a quick to do recipe that makes an easy side to any dish. 

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