Carrots with almond butter? Impress guests with this easy to make side dish for Thanksgiving
One of my favorite quotes is, “no one ever gained weight from eating too many carrot sticks.” That’s the truth, not only are carrots low in fat and calories (about 25 per medium stick) but they take time to crunch and finish so a few fill you up and take awhile to munch. That being said, carrots are a staple in my fridge and if you’re looking to maintain a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol, then pack them in your refrigerator drawer and grab them for a quick and colorful snack.
Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, studies have shown that carrots are healthy and have the same nutritional value whether you buy organic or conventional. Some people question baby carrots and you should. The baby carrots you buy that are small carrots with the greens on the top are officially baby carrots. Like micro greens, they are harvested when they’re young so they are tender and full of fabulous flavor. There is nothing better than a sweet carrot fresh from the garden.
Baby carrots, purchased pre-packaged, are a totally different story. The convenience carrots you find on a store bought veggie tray or in the little bags are not worth it, in my opinion. They are big carrots mechanically cut into perfectly shaped small carrots- nothing baby, tender or fresh about them. If you did a taste test side by side you would not notice the earthy, sweet taste a whole carrot has in the grocery store “baby carrot” package. Go for the big ones – serious flavor and better vitamins. Once you cut a veggie, they start to lose their nutritional value so the “baby carrots” that are pre cut and packaged have less nutrition and flavor by the second. If this article encourages anything – buy whole carrots! Please.
I’d also like to encourage you to try a new recipe inspired by a lovely vegetarian restaurant in NYC. Every year, I visit a best girlfriend in the city, she’s a vegan gone vegetarian and always takes me to the trendiest places. This trip, we hit a place called ABC-V (for vegetarian, they also have an ABC for meat eaters). This place was like heaven for me because Colorful Cooking adds fruits and veggies to everything so the menu was like a treasured book.
We had some fresh truffles that melted in my mouth, cauliflower with tahini that was breaking news prefect and carrots with poppy seeds and almonds. As a carrot lover, this was an easy sell and interestingly enough we had just been discussing poppy seeds and how you rarely have them in a savory dish. Viola, inspiration for a new, healthy root vegetable recipe.
Carrots are so good for you. They help lower cholesterol, improve digestion, immunity and vision. The vitamin K in carrots converts to vitamin A in the body and works hard on fighting for your vision. The lutein also helps with eye health and the beta-carotene fights diseases. Add poppy seeds and almond butter and the nutritional complexity increases.
Almond butter gives cooked carrots a savory experience and adds healthy, monounsaturated fat and protein. According to healthline.com, almond butter is full of vitamin E, iron and calcium- three times as much vitamin E, twice as much iron and seven times the calcium as peanut butter. According to my daughter, pb is just as tasty on carrots as almond butter.
Adding fat and creamy flavor with almond butter brings us to our next component- crunch. Poppy seeds and chia seeds work well but every time I say poppy seed to someone they respond with, “won’t pass a drug test.” My research shows that yes, the opium poppy used to make heroin is the same poppy seed used in bagels, muffins and now carrots. If you consume more than 1 teaspoon for every seven pounds you weigh, you may feel the effects. Basically, if you weigh 150 lbs. you should probably eat less than seven tablespoons in one sitting (nutritionfacts.org). Please don’t try this at home- that’s a lot of poppy seeds and you’ll definitely need dental floss after that- and a medic. I’ll suggest a nice red wine with your carrots instead of poppy seeds. Plus, the seeds we purchase are rinsed really well and not unsafe.
On the flip side, poppy seeds are good for you (in one tablespoon doses). They contain zinc, which helps with bone health. They have the mineral manganese, which is essential in antioxidant defenses and they help build red blood cell formation with iron and copper. They contain magnesium, which can assist with sleep as well. After the big meal with turkey and poppy seeds, I’m betting sleep is no problem.
A happy thanksgiving feast to all of you-may no food burn and may all guests enjoy each other!
Almond Butter Roasted Carrots
2 lbs. whole orange carrots, peeled
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
4 oz. almond butter
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/8 cup chopped parsley
Salt & pepper
1 lime or lemon or orange (for juice)
Pre heat oven to 425 degrees
Peel carrots and place them on a parchment lined baking pan. If they are gigantic – 1 tablespoon plus in diameter- cut lengthwise or cook longer. Attempt to have all carrots about the same circumference.
Pour olive oil evenly over carrots and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Bake for about 15- 20 minutes (depending on size of carrots- test by piercing them with a knife- you want them to maintain some crunch)
When carrots are done and still warm, spread almond butter over them and allow to melt.
Sprinkle poppy & chia seeds evenly over carrots.
Plate and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and parsley (or micro greens).
Add a squeeze of lime, lemon or orange.
Serves 8 people
Tracy Miller is a personal chef and caterer. Colorful Cooking, LLC adds fruits and vegetables to all meals. You can contact Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org.