Usually, when I’m making dinner, my primary focus centers on the main entrée. The side dishes get made, but my attention is elsewhere. It is just too stressful to cook three different recipes, that require a lot of ingredients, prepping, and everything done at the same time. I love vegetables and don’t mind eating them without a lot of flourishment. Yet, they do deserve an opportunity to be front and center. Making a composed dinner doesn’t have to take up a lot of time, just a little foresight.
Most people like carrots. When my son Evan was young, carrots was one of the 3 vegetables he ate. This popular vegetable is easy to prepare and does not require a lot of pampering. It is one of the backbones used to make stocks, soup, stews and braises. If you haven’t given carrots much thought, think again. Carrots are so much more than crudité. I love cooking with them because their natural sweetness and sturdy structure make it easy to pair with bold flavors on either the sweet and/or spicy side.
This recipe was inspired by a recipe written by Nigel Slater titled, Harissa Carrots. His recipe is delicious and is featured in his cookbook Eats. In Slater’s recipe he blanches carrots, then mixes them with harissa paste, egg yolk, vinegar and olive oil. The egg yolk in the dressing made it nice and creamy, but not suitable for a vegan diet. My idea was to make a carrot side dish that everyone could eat. So, keeping the flavor of Slater’s Harissa Carrots in my mind, I created a vegan dressing to compliment the carrots natural sweetness, provide some spicy-heat, and lots of fresh herbs. I have said it before and I will say it again, fresh herbs elevate any food from good to awesome. I do not cook without them.
In this recipe for Sweet n’ Spicy Herbed Carrots, I use three different types of herbs. I realize cilantro and dill do not have a big fan club. Yet, if you are willing to be adventurous then reduce the amount of cilantro and see if you like it in a blend. There are times when less is more, but this recipe is not one of them. However, if you do not want to commit to all three herbs, use one or two of them. Mint and dill are especially delicious with carrots. I want you to enjoy your meal, so if you know you don’t like something – don’t use it.
For me, I am no longer fearful or stingy with how I cook with herbs. Many recipes from Middle Eastern cuisine have inspired me to combine herbs and not use them by themselves. There are many herbs that compliment each other, and tasting an abundance of the freshness is always welcome in a recipe.
More carrot recipes: One Pan, One Meal Chicken Dinner
Fortunately, making Sweet n’ Spicy Herbed Carrots, is as easy as making a salad. Making this dish won’t take up a lot of your attention, but the results will taste as if you slaved all day. The spicy heat is in the background and will grow as you continue to enjoy your meal. I prefer all the ingredients to balance one another. This recipe is not about the heat but about balance, and bringing all these flavors together to give carrots center stage.
Serve with any grilled meats and white meat fish. They are also delicious as part of a vegan bowl made with greens, carrots, chickpeas, a grain, and nuts. Enjoy!
Sweet n’ Spicy Herbed Carrots, Update February 7th 2018:
This is also delicious made with roasted carrots. Roast the carrots in a 400°F / 204°C oven for 40 minutes or until the carrots are slightly soft in the middle but still firm and can hold its shape. Add the diakon radish and sweet n’spicy vinaigrette and serve warm.
Sweet n’ Spicy Herbed Carrots
Carrots are a great and pleasing vegetable. Their natural sweetness makes them a very versatile food that most people enjoy eating. This recipe for carrots has a nice balance of flavors, not too sweet and not too spicy. I prefer the heat to be in the background and not dominate the flavor of the food.
The fresh herbs add a bright green touch and really compliment the carrot's sweetness. Add all three herbs or just a couple. The mint adds a really nice touch and it is not too overbearing.
You can also make this recipe using roasted carrots instead of blanching them. It is a nice alternative for the fall and winter months. Roast the carrots in a 400°F / 204°C oven for about 40 minutes or until the carrots are soft but still firm. Coat the roasted carrots and fresh diakon radish with the vinaigrette.
Perfect with grilled meats, and most fish. Sweet n' Spicy carrots are also great as part of a vegan meal made with greens, grains, these carrots and walnuts.
One inch piece of fresh ginger
2 tsp Dijon mustard (smooth or grainy)
2 tsp honey (or 1 tsp maple syrup for a vegan recipe)
1/4 tsp ground chili pepper* (more if you want it hotter)
Zest from 1 lime
Juice from half a lime, reserve the other half to add if needed
1 Tb red wine vinegar*
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tb chopped cilantro
1 Tb chopped mint
1 Tb chopped dill (optional)
1 1/2 lbs / 683g medium size carrots
2" piece of daikon radish (3 oz / 87g)
Gently scrape off the thin skin of ginger using the edge of a teaspoon. Be careful not to dig into the flesh of the ginger root. Once the skin is removed, thinly slice the ginger and mince. Add to a small mixing bowl.
Add the Dijon mustard, honey, (maple syrup), ground chili pepper, lime zest and juice, vinegar, and Kosher salt into the bowl with the minced ginger. Whisk together until well combined.
Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, a little at a time. While you drizzle, whisk to create an emulsion. Once all the olive oil is added, give it a good whisk to keep the oil and acid from separating.
Taste the dressing and correct the seasoning to suit your taste.
Add the herbs, then whisk to combine. Set the sweet and spicy dressing aside while you prepare and cook the carrots.
Peel the carrots and trim the ends. Cut each carrot in half across the width, then cut each piece in half down the length. Cut all the pieces in half lengthwise to create long carrot strips.
Fill a medium saucepan with water and turn the heat up to high. Add a pinch of Kosher salt, a 1/4 inch sliver of ginger, and 2 crushed garlic cloves to the water. Bring the pot to a boil and add the carrots. Cook the carrots for 1-2 minutes after the water returns to a boil. Drain the carrots and pick out the garlic cloves and ginger. Add the carrots to a mixing bowl.
Peel and julienne the daikon radish in long thin strips. Add the daikon to the carrots and gently toss the carrots and daikon radish with your hands to mix together. Before you add the dressing taste it again and make any adjustments. Add the dressing, give it a gentle but good stir until the vegetables are evenly coated with the dressing.
Serve hot, warm or room temperature.
Use your favorite ground chili. The ground chili I used has a bright flavored heat, not a smokey one. Sorry I do not know the name of it. I started with a quarter teaspoon of ground chili then added a little more later. This meal is not about the heat, but about the balance of heat and sweetness.
Good substitutes are: your favorite ground chili powder, harissa paste, Thai chili paste, or sriracha. Adjust the amount you add to match the chili's heat. Example, if you use sriracha I would begin with 1/2 teaspoon then add more later if needed. Just like cooking with salt, it is always good to start with less then add more.
Do not substitute balsamic vinegar for this dressing. Good substitutions are: white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
Copyright All Rights Reserved Ginger Smith @lemonthymeandginger.com 2016 -2017
This recipe is part of a collaborative project with other food bloggers and instagrammers, #24carrotgoals
You can see their work on Instagram or at their websites.
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This Healthy Table’s Beet and Carrot Galette
Always Eat Dessert’s Carrot Cake Squares with Orange Glaze
Figs & Flour’s Thai Peanut Pizza
Fufu’s Kitchen’s Oven Baked Carrot Fries Drizzled with a Tahini Sauce
Flours in Your Hair’s Carrot Pecan Cookies
Hola Jalapeño’s Roasted Carrots with Chipotle-Honey Butter
Worthy Pause’s Paleo Thai Curry Carrot Soup
Something New for Dinner’s Minted Sous Vide Carrots with Balsamic Vinegar and Goat Cheese
What Great Grandma Ate’s Paleo Carrot Mug Cake
More Icing Than Cake’s Spiced Quinoa & Roasted Carrot Salad
Hot Dishing It Out’s Vegan Carrot Whoopie Pies
Katie Bird Bakes’ Carrot Cake Scones
Confetti Kitchen’s Harissa-Roasted Carrots with Lentils and Yogurt
Easy and Delish’s Carrot Spaghetti
Pie Girl Bakes’ Five Spice Carrot Bundt Cakes with Bourbon Cream Cheese Glaze
Smoothies and Sundaes’ Carrot Cake Sourdough
Zestful Kitchen’s Moroccan-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Food by Mars’ Paleo Carrot Walnut Loaf Cake
Cosette’s Kitchen’s Sumac Carrot and Feta Salad
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Rezel Kealoha’s Turkish Yogurt Carrot Dip
Pies and Prejudice’s Carrot Pie with Maple & Cardamom
Amanda Skrip’s Rainbow Roasted Carrots with Citrus Fennel + Arugula
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Smart in the Kitchen’s Curried Carrot Ginger Soup (Whole30)
Cocoa and Salt’s Classic Carrot Cake
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Lady and Larder’s Carrot Crudite Board with Z’atar Hummus
Prickly Fresh’s Carrot Cake Blondies with Cream Cheese Frosting
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Hello Flour’s Macro-Friendly Carrot/Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese
Flotte Lotte’s Carrot Apple Pie
Pizanna’s Vegan Carrot Birthday Cake
Mom’s Kitchen Handbook’s Salad with Miso Ginger Carrot Dressing
What’s Karen Cooking’s Spiced Cornbread w/ Carrots, Pecans & Chili Butter
Sweet Pillar Food’s Carrot and Date Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette
Feed the Swimmers’ Air Fried Rainbow Carrot Chips with Tzatziki
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© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.
Bob Marley’s song, One Love, is swayin’ in my head. “One Love! One Heart! Let’s get together and feel all right.” Where it came from is anybody’s guess, but I am swayin’ and singing along with Bob Marley as I write. I hear his soothing and rhythmic voice clearly which is a lot nicer than the lawn mowers and cars that can drudge on in the background for the whole day. “One love! One Heart! Let’s get together and feel all right.” If I am to get a song stuck in my head, this mantra is a good one: a reminder to give thanks.
I am working and dancing around different music genres today, looking for inspiration everywhere. Earlier I had Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite waltzing through my mind while I was editing photographs of baby turnips. It is so easy to take ordinary things for granted, but I have found since I started photographing ordinary things like turnips, I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary, and I see it within the shape, color and texture of the objects.
While I was photographing turnips, I started to admire the grace, shape and color of young turnips, and they reminded of the dancing fairies in Disney’s movie Fantasia. Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite started playing in my head along with images of dancing turnip ballerinas. Photographing baby turnips inspired fun visual imagines: my next task was to discover what delicious characteristics the humble turnip has to offer.
There is nothing sexy about turnips. Even the name is off-putting and harsh. No one is going to lean in and whisper in a sultry voice, “Would you like to taste my turnips?” Who do you think could pull that off? Before you find your way to the exit door, stop and consider giving the humble turnip a try for your next dinner idea.
Sheet Pan Dinner with Chicken, Carrots, Turnips and Tarragon
Young turnips bulbs have a smooth and pearly white flesh with fresh green leaves that have a peppery smell. If you can get turnips with their greens intact use them in your meal. Other than soup, turnips can be braised or roasted, and pair well with carrots and other root vegetables. I particularly like turnips braised in butter with leeks, carrots, and fresh tarragon.
Combining turnips with carrots and chicken makes a simple and delicious family meal, that everyone in your family will enjoy and want to come together for a weeknight dinner. The dinner preparation becomes easier when you roast all the ingredients together in one pan. Oven roasted carrots add body and extra sweetness to the baby turnips, and oomph to the chicken. This sheet pan dinner recipe will make a delicious meal and satisfy the demands of fussy eaters. There will be no disagreements at your family table when you offer everyone’s favorite pieces of chicken along with sweet roasted vegetables.
Common does not mean plain and boring. Find inspiration in all things and gather together for a delicious family dinner. One pan! One meal! Let’s eat together and feel all right.
Mediterranean Style Roast Chicken with Carrots, Turnips and Tarragon
A Mediterranean style chicken dinner is easily accomplished using one sheet pan to oven roast chicken, carrots, turnips, and mushrooms. The chicken is lightly marinated with Herbs de Provence and can be marinating up to 24 hrs in advance. Fresh tarragon seasons the vegetables and compliments their natural sweetness. It is a simple and elegant dinner that will encourage the whole family to gather at the table and enjoy a family meal together. Serve with a simple green salad with a light vinaigrette.
1 4-5 lb (2k) chicken, or already cut up (bone in, skin on) chicken pieces (See Note)
1 Tb minced garlic approximately 2-3 large cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tea Herbs de Provence
1 tea Kosher salt
1 Tb olive oil
Fresh ground pepper, (4-5 turns with the mill)
1 lb (about 450 g) baby turnips
1 lb (about 450 g) small carrots
8 oz (about 250 g) mushrooms
1/2 tea Kosher salt
4 sprigs fresh tarragon, divided
1 Tb olive oil
Juices from roasting chicken
1/2 cup (125 ml) dry white wine
1/4 - 1/2 cup (62 - 125 ml) chicken or vegetable broth (low sodium if not homemade)
For the Chicken
If you have a whole chicken, cut the chicken up into 8 pieces .
You can follow the instructions on the link or just use already cut up chicken. Once the chicken is cut up spread the pieces across the cutting board.
Sprinkle the Kosher salt evenly over the chicken pieces on both sides of the chicken.
In a large bowl, big enough to hold all the pieces of chicken, add the minced garlic, olive oil, and Herbs de Provence, and ground pepper. Stir to combine. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl with the herbs and mix the chicken with the herb mixture until the herbs are evenly coated each piece of chicken.
Cover the bowl with the herbed chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours up to 24 hours.
Take the chicken out of the refrigerator 1 hour before you want to begin the cooking process. This will bring the chicken up to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 375˚ F
If you have organic turnips and carrots, examine them for bruises and dirt and determine if they need to be peeled. Peel vegetables with a vegetable peeler if needed. Cut the turnips into wedges. Cut the carrots into sections similar in length with the turnips. Cut each carrot section in half lengthwise, then cut each half into wedges similar in size to the turnips.
Clean then cut each mushroom into quarters.
Place all the vegetables in to a medium size bowl and mix them together.
Strip the leaves off each tarragon sprig. Reserve the stems and divide the tarragon leaves into two piles. Take one of the piles and bunch the tarragon leaves together into a tight pile then mince with a sharp chef knife.
Add the minced tarragon, olive oil, Kosher salt and black pepper to the bowl with the vegetables. Mix together with your clean hands until the vegetables are evenly covered with the herbs and olive oil.
Save the other pile of tarragon leaves to add when the vegetables are done. Do not mince them until just before you add them to the vegetables.
Putting it all together.
Put the chicken pieces on a large rimmed sheet pan, my pan is 12 1/2" x 17 1/2" (32 cm x 44 cm), then arrange the prepared vegetables around the chicken pieces. Add the tarragon stems with the vegetables.
Put the chicken and vegetables into the pre-heated oven and bake for 40 minutes.
If the vegetables are done before the chicken, remove the vegetables from the pan with a slotted spoon and put in a heat proof dish. Remove and discard the tarragon stems. The vegetables are done when they feel tender, but not mushy, when pierced with a fork. Mince the remaining fresh tarragon and add to the roasted vegetables.
Cook the chicken until the juices from the chicken run clear after the chicken has been pierced with a fork. (Internal temperature of the chicken should be around 165 - 170 degrees F) When the chicken is done, take the pan with the chicken out of the oven, turn on the broiler and move the rack to the upper third portion of the oven. If you have not done so already remove the vegetables from the pan before you broil the chicken. Put the pan back in the oven to broil and crisp up the chicken skin, about 5 minutes.
When the chicken is done and skin crispy, put the baking sheet across two stove burners.
Remove the chicken from the pan and place the chicken on serving plate. Add the roasted vegetables to the platter with the chicken and cover with foil to keep warm.
Turn on the two stove burners to medium and pour 1/2 cup of dry white wine into the pan with the juices. Deglaze the pan by scraping with a wooden spoon, the brown, caramelized goodness off the sides and bottom of the pan. The liquid and the motion of the wooden spoon against the sides will get the golden color and flavor off the sides of the pan and into the juices. Bring the liquid to a gentle boil and slightly reduce. Add the chicken stock and continue you stir the juices until they come to a slight boil. Taste your pan juices and add, more stock, or wine, or seasoning to suit your taste. Be careful not to over salt the pan juices.
Pour the pan juices over the roasted chicken and vegetables and serve. A simple leafy green salad is a great accompaniment.
If you have never cut up a whole chicken before and are not comfortable starting it, feel free to buy chicken already cut up. It is good to have a good sharp chef knife and kitchen scissors when you cut through bone. If you do not own them buy whatever chicken parts you and your family prefer. The cooking time in this recipe is based on chicken with the bone in and skin on the meat. Sometimes already cut up chicken breasts are particularly large. If you cut chicken breasts in half across the middle they might finish cooking before the thighs and drumsticks. The video by NY Times Cooking is very instructive about how to cut up a whole chicken. I have been cutting up chickens for years and I learned new information from it.
Copyright All Rights Reserved Ginger Smith @lemonthymeandginger.com 2016 -2017
Feeling ambitious? Make a delicious fruit gallette for dessert. You can substitute plums for nectarines, or any seasonal fruit.
© 2016 – 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.