Monday, January 7, 2013

roasted carrot and avocado salad with citrus dressing

One of my goals for the blog this year is to do a better job preparing you for what fruits and vegetables are in season. Buying in season is good for our health, our local farms and for our wallets. When we buy produce out of season something had to be done to make that veggie look so perfect outside of its natural harvest time. This means it could be treated with pesticides, waxes or preservatives. Eating seasonally not only allows you to avoid those things but it diversifies your diet. Having a diverse diet is naturally detoxifying and produce in its season contains much higher antioxidant content then that out of season. As much as I love these health benefits I must say a major reason I shop in season is because it is significantly less expensive. It really is a win win.

I first tried this recipe last winter and somehow forgot about it until I started trying to think of a citrus recipe to start the new year. It really is the perfect example of the versitility of citrus. There is something about the flavors that come out after roasting the lemon and orange that take this dressing to a whole new level. I also love how the carrots, hot out of the pot, soak up the marinade and are more flavorful than ever. I also love the versatility of this recipe. You can always substitute different herbs, add in a some sliced bread to make it heartier or do without the chilis if you don't want it to have a kick.

Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad with Citrus Dressing
Serves 4
Adapted from Jamie Oliver

2 lb carrots, sliced in half
1 orange, halved
1 lemon, halved
1 avocado, sliced into 12 wedges
2 cups mixed sprouts, herbs and/or greens
2 garlic cloves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (approximately)
1 t red wine vinegar
1-2 small dried chilis or 1 t red pepper flakes
1/2 t cumin
4 T greek yogurt 
4 T mixed seeds, toasted (I used a mixture of sesame and sunflower)
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350. Place the carrots in a saucepan and cover them with cold water. Season with salt and set heat to high. Bring water to a simmer and reduce heat to medium. Simmer until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain carrots and transfer to a medium bowl.

2. While the carrots are cooking combine your marinade. I did this with a mortar and pestle but you could also use a blender. First, smash the chilis, cumin and salt and pepper. Next, add the garlic and thyme and smash some more until you get a paste. Add enough olive oil to cover the paste and then add the red wine vinegar. Add the marinade to the hot carrots and toss to combine. After the carrots are covered, place them on a baking sheet and add the orange and lemon halves, cut side down.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

3. Remove the carrots from the oven and combine them with the sliced avocado. Take the roasted lemon and orange and squeeze the roasted lemon and orange into a bowl (use tongs). Add around 2-3 T of olive oil and a dash of red wine vinegar. Mix together all the ingredients and add salt and pepper as needed.

4. Toss the greens with the carrots and avocado and add the dressing. Divide the mixture among plates and add a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of seeds.

In case you are interested here are some other produce that are at their peak right now:
brussel sprouts
sweet potatoes

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