Carrots are a gardening miracle. From such a minuscule seed, out pops a root strong enough to plow through tough soil and soak up minerals.
The carrots shoot those minerals up to the ferny leaves, and when they die, leave the minerals to enhance the topsoil. Carrots fill the roll as one of nature’s miner plants. They are also terrific to eat and very good for you.
I’m sure you’ve heard about how high in beta-carotene carrots are, and how they help eyesight. If you haven’t there are hundreds of Internet references to look up. Carrots are a very versatile vegetable, tasty raw as well as cooked.
There are many carrot varieties. Nantes, Chantenay, Danvers… these are the common varieties you’ll see sold in most seed stores. However there are white carrots, purple carrots, deep red carrots, and carrots of many sizes and shapes. Some are woody, some very sweet, some tender and some strongly flavored.
If you grow your own organic carrots, feel around the roots to see if they are large enough to pull. Don’t leave them in the ground for too long or they’ll become less sweet and woody in texture. Also, if you use your own organically grown carrots, you don’t need to peel them. Just use a brush to scrub off the dirt.
Carrots are wonderful to eat when simply steamed until tender, then buttered or drizzled with olive oil and chopped herbs. Dill is particularly good, as are chives. I’ve found many carrot recipes, but most of them are sweet not savory. Honey-glazed carrots, carrot soup with curry and sweet coconut milk, brown sugar carrots… I don’t care for them. Carrots are naturally sweet, and to slop more sweet stuff on top is overdoing it. Sweetened carrots belong in carrot cake, and there is only one recipe for it that I find not cloying and heavy (I’ll share that recipe with you another time). I also like carrots in a savory soup.
Here is an unusual recipe that is tasty, easy, low in calories, and has protein from an unusual source: vegetarian sausage patties. Celery adds dimension to the flavor as does minced fresh rosemary.
- About two cups sliced carrots
- One shallot, diced
- One celery stalk, diced
- Two vegetarian sausage patties (such as Morningstar Farms)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
- One large potato, peeled and chopped
- Four cups vegetable broth
- Cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)
- In medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook for two minutes.
- Add celery and stir occasionally for about three minutes.
- Move the vegetables to one side and add two vegetarian sausage patties. Flip when cooked on one side.
- Add potato, carrots and rosemary.
- Stir, breaking up sausage patties with spatula.
- Add vegetable broth
- Bring to boil then lower temperature to a simmer and partially cover with the pot lid.
- Cook for about twenty minutes, until carrots are just tender.
- Cool, then blend soup until smooth.
- Return soup to pot and reheat.
- Serve hot, topped with cilantro leaves if used.