Did you know that carrots weren’t always orange? Well, at least it wasn’t their dominant color. As the story goes, back in the 17th century Dutch farmers selectively bread orange carrots to celebrate the Dutch Royal family who is also nicknamed “the Oranjes”. In fact, carrots used to be purple, white, brown and yellow before the orange ones took over. We have seen a comeback of these heirloom colored carrots and we like them. Here’s to a great recipe celebrating carrots, orange or otherwise. Come and cook with us!
Carrots are extremely good for you and despite years of overcooked, bland carrot sticks, they lend themselves to many flavorful dishes, including soups, salads, sides and baked goods. Carrots are packed with carotenoids, antioxidant compounds such as beta-carotene found in plants that are associated with a wide range of health benefits. Furthermore, carrots are a great source of lutein, zeaxanthin, two other carotenoids which together are beneficial for our eyes. Interesting to note, too, is that cooking carrots makes some of the nutrients more bioavailable, meaning that your body can better absorb them. And because beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A, it’s best to eat carrots with a little fat, such as this delicious dressing I made for our roasted carrots.
There are so many great dishes that can be made with carrots. Keep in mind that they share the same botanical family as parsnips, fennel and parsley, making them all good partners in dishes in the kitchen. Some of our favorite recipes include Beet and Carrot Salad with Fresh Mint, Carrot, Orange Ginger Soup, Carrot Apple Soup and Carrots, Olives and Garlic, to name just a few!
Whether using the heirloom kind or the more common orange variety, this Roasted Carrot Salad with Dijon Dressing is delicious and can easily be expanded by adding red and golden beets as well as bulb of red onions to the mix. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. We could have devoured three times the amount I made. Come and cook with us!