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Roasted Carrots with Tahini, Olives and Mint

April 10, 2017
Featured in: Food Rx, Side Dishes
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Sweet roasted carrots get a boost of Middle Eastern flavor from tahini, olives and mint!

Sweet roasted carrots get a boost of Middle Eastern flavor from tahini, olives and mint! 

By Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE, CLT

When I was a kid, I ate a ton of carrots. Probably to the point where I was just short of turning my skin orange. As an already awkward child, life took a traumatic turn when I found out I had to wear glasses. Since everyone knows carrots are good for your eyes, downing baby carrots like they were going out of style was my ticket to 20/20 vision. 

Flash forward to today and I am the proud owner of two eyes with a -10.5 and -11 prescription. For those of you blessed with clear vision, all you need to know is that's bad, like, really bad. ��

It's a humorous story, but I share it as a warning against ascribing magical powers to food. In this series, I like to talk about the health benefits of foods to help change the narrative away from food fear and towards thinking of food as nourishment. I think it's so fascinating to know how food positively impacts our health! But big picture, no single food can cure your ills. Health and wellness is determined by the big picture of not just what we eat, but how we feel about what we eat, not to mention stress, sleep, socioeconomic factors, fitness, etc. 

So while carrots may not magically give you 20/20 vision, there's still plenty of good reasons to eat them (first and foremost because they're delicious!). Carrots are a root vegetable related to dill, parsley, parsnips, and fennel. We think of them as being an orange vegetable, but actually the first carrots that were cultivated were purple, and you can still find them sold in a rainbow of different colors, especially at the farmers market. Rainbow carrots are just so pretty! See: 

Sweet roasted carrots get a boost of Middle Eastern flavor from tahini, olives and mint!

While you hear a lot about the vision support benefits of carrots, there really aren't a ton of studies. But we do know the carotenoids in carrots are beneficial for eye health, reducing the risk of glaucoma and cataracts (which unfortunately does no good for a 9-year old trying to ditch the four-eyes label). Carrots are super rich in vitamin A, with 1 cup equaling providing over 100% your daily needs. Probably more than eye health, carrots are healthy for your heart - one study found orange/yellow vegetables compared to other colors of vegetables was the most protective against heart disease. Besides being an excellent source of vitamin A, carrots are also a very good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Plus, they're crazy inexpensive so if you're looking for a cheap and crowd pleasing veggie, carrots are it!


Sweet roasted carrots get a boost of Middle Eastern flavor from tahini, olives and mint!

I used to hate cooked carrots as a kid because my parents always served them boiled or steamed. Ever since I discovered how sweet and caramelized they become when they get all toasty and warm in the oven, I've been obsessed. Pro tip: roast them with orange juice and they'll taste like candy. Or throw some chipotle chilies into the mix for that whole sweet and savory thing

This recipe was inspired by the crazy delicious carrots I got at Dig Inn when I was in Boston for FNCE last year. It's basically like a Subway but with fresh, seasonal dishes that you can make into grain bowls. The combination of tahini, olives, mint and cumin gives it a little Middle Eastern flare. And I just realized chopped dates would be really tasty in here too! 

Sweet roasted carrots get a boost of Middle Eastern flavor from tahini, olives and mint!

Need a new carrot recipe! Make these roasted carrots with tahini, black olives & mint! @RHartleyRD @healthyaperture
Sweet roasted carrots get a boost of Middle Eastern flavor from tahini, olives and mint!

Roasted Carrots with Tahini, Olives and Mint

Yield

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb carrots, cut into sticks if large
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chopped black olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted almonds
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
  2. Toss carrots with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast 20-25 minutes until tender and golden. 
  3. While carrots are still hot, drizzle with tahini. Sprinkle with garlic, vinegar and cumin then toss to combine. Toss in olives. 
  4. Place in a serving bowl. Garnish with almonds and mint. Serve warm or room temperature. 
Click for nutritional information
Calories 134
Carbohydrates 13g
Fiber 3.5g
Sugar 6.8g
Fat 8.9g
Protein 3g
Sodium 132mg
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RachaelAnAvocadoADay

RachaelAnAvocadoADay
Rachael Hartley is the author of the FOOD Rx on HealthyAperture - a monthly feature that embraces the saying "Let food be thy medicine." The tasty, whole food recipes shared in Food Rx take advantage of the healing power of food, highlighting ingredients with known health promoting abilities. Rachael is also private practice dietitian and blogger at Avocado A Day Nutrition. She is passionate about helping men and women improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing with nourishing and delicious whole foods, mindfulness and intuitive eating. As lifelong food lover, the kitchen is her playground and she enjoys experimenting with new ingredients, trying new cuisines and sharing those creations on her blog. When not working with clients or blogging, you can find her playing with her two big fluffy dogs, practicing yoga, or traveling with her husband.
More posts by RachaelAnAvocadoADay
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