Tasty, crunchy and a great source of fibre, homegrown carrots are abundant all year long
Although various fruits and vegetables go in an out of style—think cauliflower pizza crust and avocado toast, for example—one tried-and-true, omnipresent and always good-for-you vegetable is carrots.
In Canada, carrots are at their peak in the fall season, but great quality, homegrown, nutrient and beta-carotene rich carrots are abundant all year long. When craving a cold, crunchy snack, simply peel a carrot from the fridge and enjoy.
A great source of fibre, they go with every kind of dip from dill or ranch to hummus and guacamole. Kids love carrots on a veggie platter. Carrots can be sliced in sticks, made super thin in julienne strips like shoestrings, cut into coins, sliced on an angle or with a crinkle cutter to keep them interesting when eaten raw. They’re a classic ingredient in winter soups and stews but are also versatile enough to be added to vegetable juice and even desserts like carrot cake, fruit cakes and puddings.
They can be grated into a tomato pasta sauce to ramp up the vegetable content or lightly steamed or microwaved before serving raw for those who find a hard carrot a bit tough to chew or digest.
Extra large carrots work really well in a vegetable spiralizer to make low-carb noodles. These noodles can be eaten raw in salads or added to sandwiches. Briefly sautéing carrot noodles in a little sesame oil also makes a great side dish.
For a twist on a salad that can be eaten warm or cold, try this recipe, courtesy of Crop Life Canada, an organization that promotes Canadian-grown food...
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup canola oil
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
½ tsp each salt and pepper
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into half-inch slices
- 1 tbsp canola oil
½ tsp each salt and pepper
- 6 cups packed arugula, baby kale or spinach leaves
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 sweet red peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 avocados, pitted and cubed
½ cup chopped toasted pecans
- Make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Set aside.
- Make salad: In a medium bowl, toss carrots in oil, salt and pepper. Transfer carrots to a grill basket. Cook on grill over medium-high heat until slightly charred and tender, 20 to 25 minutes. (Alternately, carrots can also be roasted in a 400ºF oven, turning halfway through cooking.) Toss cooked carrots in half the dressing. Let cool or serve warm.
- In a large bowl, combine carrots with arugula (or mixed greens), green onions and peppers. Top salad with avocados and pecans and drizzle with remaining dressing.