When the calendar hits September 1st, fall comes full blast with seasonal recipes, warmed-up restaurant menus, and even those spiced coffee drinks. Pumpkin, sweet potato, and butternut squash feature big, but I always urge people to look towards the vegetables that can sometimes end up as second players in the show.
Carrots are delightful as a mealtime star and I have a favorite technique that makes these carrots perfectly tender without going too soft.
During the cooler months when I actually feel like turning on my oven, I often braise vegetables in a covered dish in the oven, and then uncover them to finish roasting. This technique makes the vegetables tender, especially the carrots, but far from mushy (because I really dislike mushy vegetables).
Cumin is a spice that I often end up burying with a myriad of other spices, but in this dish, I let it stand alone. Its flavor shines with the mellow flavor of the carrots. Add in some earthiness from the wild rice and chickpeas, and the dish comes together nicely.
But don't be fooled, the carrots are still the star.
While I'll often eat this warm salad for dinner on its own, it's also amazing as lunch leftovers or as a hearty side-dish. If you can, get your hands on a bunch of rainbow carrots to make this recipe — the color of this dish becomes even more beautiful!
Cumin-Roasted Carrots with Wild Rice and Chickpeas
Serves 4 as a main, or 6 to 8 as a side dish
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
5 cups sliced carrots, 1/4-inch thick
1/2 medium white onion, minced
2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed if using canned
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups cooked wild rice or wild rice blend
1/4 cup pepitas
1 ounce feta cheese (see note)
In a small skillet, heat the cumin seeds over medium heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Place in a spice grinder or use a mortar to grind the cumin seeds into a powder. (You should have 1 scant tablespoon of ground cumin.)
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a roasting pan, combine the sliced carrots, minced onion, chickpeas, olive oil, and cumin powder. Stir to coat carrots with cumin and oil. Pour the vegetable broth and lemon juice into pan and cover with tin foil. Roast carrots for 30 minutes until tender, remove foil, and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until carrots are tender.
Remove carrots from oven and toss with wile rice, pepitas, and feta cheese. Serve warm.
- If vegan, do not add the feta.
(Image credits: Erin Alderson)