Carrots happen to be one of those standby staple vegetables everyone seems to have stashed somewhere in their fridge, but beyond serving as useful hummus dippers, what other creative ways can we make these vibrant orange veggies fun to eat?
My solution was discovered on page 214 in Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Cookbook in the delicious form of honey roasted carrots in a bag.
I made this vegetable side dish with one of my closest friends, Cherie Fromson (in the photo to the far left), the other night when we were having a super casual dinner just us girls and the kids–we knew this was a vegetable recipe all of the kids would like (we were right, of course!) Cherie found the recipe after flipping through my endless cookbook collection looking for something easy to make and since she is French, she was immediately drawn to the method of cooking carrots “en papillote” —or in parchment from Jamie’s Food Revolution cookbook. Note: Technically, Jamie called for using an aluminum foil “bag” in his recipe, but Cherie and I both like to cook with parchment (see below for why.)
Jamie’s Food Revolution
As a timely coincidence, Cherie and I made Jamie’s carrot dish on the same day our October 20th issue of TIME magazine arrived at the house, which featured Mark Bittman’s How to Eat Now: The Truth About Home Cooking article on the front cover. Both Bittman and Oliver make a strong case for why we need to bring cooking back home—for good health, good taste and even social perks!
As Bittman asks readers in his TIME magazine article, “Shouldn’t preparing–and consuming–food be a source of comfort, pride, health, well-being, relaxation, sociability? Something that connects us to other humans?”
And the entire purpose of Jamie’s Food Revolution Cookbook was to get people of ALL ages—including men, women and the kids— back in the kitchen cooking. Oliver’s goal with his cookbook (which really is SO good and filled to the brim with simple and easy to prepare recipes, by the way!) was to encourage everyone to share and teach recipes with their friends and family. The whole concept of this cookbook is incredibly social. As stated in Oliver’s introduction, “Regardless of recessions and credit crunches, we all need to know how to cook simple, nutritious, economical, tasty and hearty food. Once we’ve got this knowledge we should pass it on through friends, family, and the workplace to keep that cycle of knowledge alive.”
Whatever you make does not need to be fancy. But just getting everyone to eat more REAL food and VEGETABLES is a big huge step in the right direction. I am certain Mark & Jamie would agree. I know my friend Lisa Leake, from 100 Days of Real Food (whose amazing back-to-basics family cookbook just hit the NY Times Bestseller list), would also agree.
Believe it or not, Cherie and I actually had a lot of fun making dinner for us and the kids that night. I think the glass of wine might have helped too (wink.)
Honey Roasted Carrots In the (Environmentally-Friendly & Safe) Bag
Because Cherie is French and because I like to keep my family’s environmental exposure to aluminum as low as possible (you can read more about why I like to do this HERE), we decided to swap the aluminum foil “bags” called for in Jamie’s recipe for parchment bags. Parchment bags/ “pouches” are easy enough to make (see directions below in the recipe) but you can also purchase ready-made culinary paper cooking bags such as the ones manufactured by PaperChef HERE.
Not only are parchment paper bags a more environmentally safe choice when compared to aluminum, we believe they are safer too. As an added perk, cooking in parchment—-or as Cherie would say, “en papillote”,—seals in nutrients. That seals the deal for me!
A Few Clean Cuisine Notes….
Also, because I just can never ever follow a recipe exactly (I always have to add my own little twist!), I tweaked Jamie’s recipe a bit just to totally align it with everything we do here at Clean Cuisine. I don’t personally know Jamie, but I know any good chef always encourages culinary creativity, so I am certain Jamie would not be offended.
The tweaks I made included eliminating the bacon, swapping marmalade for raw honey, using organic extra virgin coconut oil instead of butter and adding more detoxifying garlic just for the heck of it. But basically the cooking method and flavors were all Jamie’s. Thank you Jamie!
Carrot Nutrition 101:
So many of my husband’s patients who are concerned about their body weight will routinely (and proudly) tell him they avoid “high sugar” fruits and vegetables such as carrots and bananas. We have heard this so many times that we simply had to debunk the carrot myths once and for all and give the real scoop on carrot nutrition in an article HERE. If you don’t have time to read the full article, the bottom line is that we can assure you nobody ever got fat from eating too many carrots!
And now for the easy-peasy recipe for honey roasted carrots (finally!!)…
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- 3 cups coarsely chopped peeled carrots
- 4 cloves garlic (finely sliced)
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- 2 teaspoons organic extra virgin coconut oil
- Zest from 1/2 of a fresh orange (look for organic, if possible)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- Pinch of unrefined Himalayan pink salt and pepper (to taste) (omit black pepper for AIP)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Get a sheet of parchment paper about 2 feet long and fold in half. Place the carrots, garlic, rosemary, raw honey, extra virgin coconut oil, orange zest and orange juice on one side of the parchment half; gently toss carrots to coat. Season carrots with salt and pepper to taste. Fold over each of the three sides of the parchment paper and seal as best you can (using a bit of oil helps seal parchment paper.)
- Place your parchment carrot package in a baking tray and roast for about 50 minutes, or until desired doneness (but please don’t overcook!) Remove carrots from oven when done and let cool for at least 5 minutes before opening the parchment pouch. To serve, place the honey roasted carrots in a large serving dish.
P.S. If you have a favorite family-friendly way to prepare carrots please be sure to leave a comment and let us know!