While one can't go wrong with ordinary roasted carrots and parsnips, there are times – in the middle of winter, especially – when one craves something a bit more glamorous. Something vibrant. I have the solution, and although it does require a few special ingredients, it takes hardly more effort than the typical roasted veg.
Roasting carrots and parsnips in a hot oven turns them tender and sweet with crispy, caramelized edges. Whenever possible, I like to pair parsnips with carrots because they balance the sweetness with an earthy, somewhat spiced flavor. (However, you can make this without parsnips; just increase the amount of carrots.) I've also included chickpeas in this dish; added to the roasting pan partway through, they aren't crunchy like fully roasted chickpeas but still soft and chewy with a beautiful golden color. For vegetarian diners, this is also a nice way to get extra protein.
But those are just the basics. What makes this dish really come alive are the Mediterranean touches like a sprinkle of urfa biber (a smoky-fruity pepper from Turkey), a drizzle of gorgeous pomegranate molasses, and a bit of good feta, crumbled on top just before serving. Elegant but not complicated, this dish is just the thing to both comfort and awaken the palate on a winter day.
Sweet and Spicy Roasted Carrots, Parsnips, and Chickpeas
olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons
coarse kosher salt
feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Peel carrots and parsnips, or just scrub well, and halve lengthwise. (If carrots are small and slender, leave them whole. If parsnips are large, quarter them lengthwise, cut out the woody center, and, if necessary, continue to cut into thinner strips to match carrot size.)
Toss carrots and parsnips with 2 tablespoons olive oil, urfa biber, and salt. Spread in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and place in oven to roast. Toss chickpeas in remaining olive oil.
After 15 minutes, turn carrots and parsnips, add chickpeas, and roast for another 10 minutes. Then toss with pomegranate molasses and roast for another 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender and golden.
Remove from oven, toss with feta and parsley, and serve.
(Images: Emily Ho)