Oh hey, Spring! So nice to see you again. I wasn’t even sure you’d ever come back after that miserable winter, but alas, here you are. So I thought I’d celebrate your return with a dish that screams spring–Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Arugula-Walnut Pesto. PS, never leave me again.
Roasted carrots are one of my recent obsessions. Even just on their own with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, they are amazing. To be completely honest, this rainbow mixture I got doesn’t really taste any different, but it sure looks cool and rustic, right? So hip.
I could have just stopped there, but the return of spring deserves something special. I decided to up the dish with a fresh arugula and walnut pesto to add a savory bite to the sweet carrots. It was a super quick pesto, made with arugula, toasted walnuts, garlic, lemon, olive oil, and parmesan. The combination was pretty flawless.
And just when you think a dish can’t get any better, put a poached egg on top. It almost never fails. Runny yolks are magical. This is great if you want the carrots/pesto to stand on their own as a meal rather than a side dish.
Nutritional Highlights: It’s hard to beat carrots in terms of nutrition. They give you about 200% of your daily vitamin A needs (via beta carotene), plus fiber, biotin, and and vitamin K to name a few. Carrots may help maintain eye health, and may prevent against cancer and heart disease. Also, if you buy organic carrots, you don’t even have to peel them, just wash and scrub off any stringy parts, which is awesome for the lazy chef like I am these days. Argugula is the other big nutritional star here. It is super low cal like most greens, but has a delicious peppery flavor and is packed with phytochemicals and folate. Walnuts in the pesto add healthy fat and a delicious nutty flavor.
Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Arugula-Walnut Pesto
For the Roasted Carrots:
2 pounds organic rainbow carrots (or the regular orange guys)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Pesto:
3 cups packed arugula leaves
4 large cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup lightly toasted walnuts, a few reserved for garnish
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, plus a little extra for garnish
1/3 cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 450.
2. Wash and scrub carrots but no need to peel if they are organic. Dry them off and lay out onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2T olive oil and rub so all the carrots are coated. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
3. Roast for about 20-30 minutes, depending on how thick your carrots are, until slightly soft and browned.
4. While carrots are roasting, make your pesto. Combine the first 6 ingredients and pulse to combine. Drizzle in the olive oil and water, adding a litte extra if you think it is too thick. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. When carrots have finished roasting, lay them on on a serving dish and top with a scoop of the pesto across the center. Garnish with additional toasted walnuts and a sprinkle of lemon zest. Enjoy this amazing side and the return of Spring (finally!!).
**You’ll probably have extra pesto. I assure you this is a great thing. You can spread it on toast, top fish or chicken with it, toss pasta in it, or eat it with a spoon. Trust me, you’ll find a way to use it!