There are a few staples that are in my weekly shopping basket, there’s always a chicken to roast, bananas, nuts, non-dairy milk, full fat butter, and carrots. Always, without fail, a kilo of carrots. I hate food waste, really, really hate it, so its pains me to admit that I have I fact wasted more than a few carrots in my time. Its criminal. And what makes it worse is that the humble carrot is so versatile. It can be sweet, it can be savoury, it can take a dish from completely mediocre to completely incredible. Carrots are stupidly cheap (that’s a whole other topic), and they are a great source of nutrition, so it makes sense to up your carrot consumption, but after you’ve dipped them in humous, baked a carrot cake and chopped them up REALLY small to hide them in the bolognaise, what else do you do with them? Well that has been my challenge, to find a new an inventive way to use my carrots for easy, everyday meals that appeal to everyone, and here’s what came of it:
Vegan Carrot and Bean tagine
Tagines are a firm favourite in our house. I simply adore Middle Eastern and North African food, if I had to chose one type of cuisine to have for the rest of my life, it would be Moroccan. Usually I make my tagines with lamb, and there’s always some carrots in there, but I took out the lamb and used carrots as the main component, and I have to say, I think I might actually prefer it. Get the recipe here.
Spiced carrot and nut salad
Every salad bar has grated carrot these days, just there on its own, drying out in a plastic container, waiting to be sprinkled on some random leaves and get lost with the sweetcorn and blue cheese sauce. So, so, boring. But this salad, using some simple store cupboard ingredients is a great crowd pleaser and would be great for a picnic or side for a pot luck dinner. Get the recipe here.
Ginger Honey Carrot Cake with Spiced Rum & Cardamom Drizzle
I don’t bake cakes often as there’s not many people around to eat them and they sit in a tin for a week before going to waste, but you can’t have a week of cooking with carrots and not make some form of carrot cake. I’m as much a fan of a normal carrot cake as the next person, but I wanted something different. I recently had a yearning for Tortuga Rum Cake but its hard to get hold of at short notice I made my own version. Get the recipe here.
Roasted Carrot Macaroni Cheese with Pulled Smoked Garlic Salt Brisket
I’m a massive fan of macaroni cheese, who isn’t?! But when it comes to the cheese sauce, it can just be so claggy and heavy, with it being a comfort food, I guess that’s the whole point, but as mid-week meal, I want to up the veg content and make it a bit lighter. By using blended roasted carrot and non-dairy cream in place of the traditional roux base, you can achieve a bright and light creamy sauce with a unique flavour. You can serve it just on its own and it is delicious, but I decided to make some tasty brisket to pile on top – because beef and carrots are a dream team. Get the recipe here.
As it turned out, after I’d also used one of my carrots to make stock, my kilo didn’t go as far as I needed and I needed to top them up, but I’m still so happy with what came of these recipe experiments. Long live carrots!