Monday’s Menu: Carrots
We are celebrating all things spring around here. The sun is shining, and the days are warm. Which means: we’re heatin’ up the grill!
I am not a vegetarian, but in my house, we like to think of meat as a condiment, especially during the summer when there is so much fresh, local produce.
This proves difficult when I have a hard time resisting a nice, juicy burger straight off the grill – or any grilled meat for that matter!
So what I like to do is whip up some quick veggie sides to go with whatever we’re grilling.
One thing I always have on hand is carrots. So, I’m in constant search for quick ways to prepare them. Yesterday we grilled out with some friends, and I made this amazing carrot salad. I couldn’t resist posting the recipe this morning because it is so darn good.
Carrot Salad with Almond Butter Dressing
2 large carrots, peeled
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup creamy almond butter
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon agave nectar
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Using a box grater, shred carrots and place in a large bowl. Add bell pepper, cilantro and raisins. In a small bowl, whisk together almond butter, lime juice, tamari, agave and pepper flakes. Add dressing to carrot mixture and mix thoroughly. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes and serve cold or at room temperature.
I got this recipe from wholefoodsmarket.com – one of my favorite places to search for yummy recipes.
When I buy carrots at the store, I always go organic – afterall, they sit in the soil their whole life, so I want to know that the soil is good. But, at my grocery store, I can buy a huge bag of carrots, which helps me save some money and it also ensures I always have carrots on hand.
“Stretch it Out”
Now I have a big bag of carrots that I stretch out over a few weeks. What are some creative, quick ways to use these carrots (besides the delicious recipe above)?
1. Stir-fry: This is a great way for a quick lunch. Stir-fry some sliced carrots with ginger and tamari and serve over leftover brown rice.
2. Add them: They’re a great addition to salads and soups. I love to grate them into my salad.
3. Boil/Steam: Don’t forget the age-old method for a side dish! And they’re so much better if you start with a fresh carrot rather than a frozen one.
4. Soup: I love a thick, carrot soup. Boil some carrots with water or stock and some sauteed onions. I also like to add fresh ginger root, but this is totally optional. After all the veggies are cooked, take an immersion blender and go to town on the pot (or transfer into a blender and blend). This makes a nice, thick, creamy soup – a quick meal served with salad or bread.
5. Mash: Cook some carrots with parsnips, drain, mash with a potato masher and add olive oil and salt and pepper.
6. Raw: Don’t forget the star quality of a crunchy, raw carrot! These are great by themselves or dipped in hummus. This is also a great option for kids who won’t eat salad. Place a pile of cut-up, raw carrots on the dinner table when your kids are hovering around the kitchen while you cook dinner. It gives them a great, healthy snack, and if they fill up on carrots before dinner, at least you know they’ve eaten something good!
I love me some carrots, and I love to have them on hand for a quick meal or side dish on any day. Not only do they taste great, but they’re full of nutrients, and they also help curb your sweet tooth if you eat them often – nature’s natural sweeteners satisfy that sweet craving in a healthy way.
So go on and get carrot crazy this week!