We’re halfway into January and still months away from garden season in Colorado, which means local vegetables are slim pickings. Thank you, farmers of California, Texas, Florida, and Mexico, for keeping me nourished during these knuckle-numbing winter days. Last weekend when I was scouring cookbooks for cold-season recipes, carrots kept waving their fluffy, green leaves at me. Usually I pass over the ubiquitous vegetable because the humongous grocery store variety tends to be so overbred that it tastes like watery cardboard. Not high on my must-nom list of vegetables. I decided to give the ol’ carrot another try this week, dropping a little more money on a store-bought organic variety. It was a worthy investment since carrots serve as the centerpiece for today’s recipe.
Below you’ll find yet another, plant-based winner from the Thug Kitchen Cookbook. I tend to rotate three or four homemade salad dressings (Seriously, don’t waste your money on store-bought dressing. I’ve only tasted a couple of brands that aren’t gooped up with weird additives that leave my tongue clammy. Clammy tongue can’t be good, right?) through my kitchen, and most of those are oil-based. This dressing recipe emphasizes the sweetness of the roasted carrots, with the oil and vinegar playing supporting roles.
The authors of Thug Kitchen suggested showcasing this dressing with a simple plate of salad greens topped with red onion and cilantro. The cooling qualities of the dressing paired nicely with the zesty red onion, and I’ll be making this combination again. Because the carrots are puréed, this dressing is thicker than some and can also be used as a dipping sauce for crudités and other savory snacks.
Roasted Carrot and Cumin Dressing
(a Thug Kitchen Cookbook recipe)
Makes about 1 cup
– 3 medium carrots
– 1 tsp olive oil + 2 TBS olive oil, separated
– 1/4 tsp ground cumin
– pinch of salt
– 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
– 1/4 cup water
– 2 TBS orange juice
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Chop the carrots into 1/2-inch chunks. Toss them with the oil, cumin, and salt. Roast in a small pan, covered, until the carrots are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
2. When tender, pull pan from the oven, and let the carrots cool for a few minutes. Then, add them to a food processor with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. Depending on the power of your blender motor, this could take up 3 minutes.