If you are looking to add some spice in your life you have come to the right place. Spring is all about refreshing, rejuvenating, and making room for the “new”. Perhaps what you are searching for is a fresh perspective on food!
As a Registered Dietitian I often hear clients admit to being stuck in food ruts. You are not alone when it dawns on you that taco Tuesday or pizza Friday have been on your menu for the last six months straight. Sometimes we repeat dishes because we genuinely love the flavor, or it reminds us of a happy memory. Food can help you feel close to loved ones far away and provide comfort. Perhaps you gravitate toward the same foods because its easy, convenient, or you are afraid to stray too far out of your comfort zone in the kitchen for fear that it may not be a success. I used to fall into this category, wanting perfection in the kitchen at all times, until I realized many of my biggest “mistakes” actually turned out to be some of my favorite meals. Maybe you have a picky eater in the family and you simply don’t want to spend 10 minutes convincing them the food will taste good “if they only try a bite”.
Every weekend I make a grocery list and plan our meals for the week. All of the notes, ideas, brainstorming, and menu planning are contained in a small notebook in my purse. Until recently these notes were found on random sheets of paper all over the kitchen and shoved in the junk drawer (my husband kindly gifted me a notebook…I’m moving up in the world!). Because I am a self-proclaimed food nerd I will go back to the previous weeks and months, just for fun, and analyze my menu planning. And you know what I see? Patterns. I, too, fall into food ruts and find myself repeating dinner ideas for weeks on end. Burrito bowls, anyone?
I’ve decided that patterns aren’t always a bad thing though; its great to have fast and delicious dinner ideas up my sleeve if I have to run an unexpected errand after work or my schedule changes. On a whole I prefer to have a wide variety of foods in my diet, not only to ensure I’m getting the proper nutrients that my body needs, but because its FUN to experiment and try new things!
If you are looking to shake up your dinner routine, or are finally burned out on the same foods, I challenge you to try something new! This side dish recipe uses just two spices to transform the humble carrot into something fresh, exciting, and spicy!
- 1 lb whole carrots (I used a multicolor variety for extra beautiful color)
- 2-3 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (add more or less based on how spicy you like it)
- salt/pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp parsley, minced
Wash and peel the carrots.
I love using multicolor carrots because beautiful food is tasty food. I found this mixture at Trader Joe’s (we all know about my obsession at this point, sorry). They come and go in the produce department but I make sure to snatch up a bag or two anytime they are available. You may wonder if the other colors taste the same as the traditional orange carrots; the answer is yes!
Cut the tops and bottom of the carrots and discard. Slice each carrot on a diagonal; some carrots are thinner than others so just do your best.
Wow, look at all those beautiful colors…who wouldn’t want to eat their veggies when they look like this?! Warm a large, deep skillet over medium heat.
Add the coconut oil and stir to melt. Coconut oil is great for cooking at high heat and will help caramelize the carrots.
Add the carrots to the skillet and stir well to allow the coconut oil to coat each piece. Season lightly with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Time to get spicy: add the curry powder 1 tsp at a time and stir. If you like a very strong curry flavor start with 2 teaspoons, but feel free to add more to your liking. Add the cayenne with caution; that stuff is spicy! I usually start out with a little sprinkle, stir, taste, and then add more at the end if I can’t feel the heat.
Once the spices are added allow the carrots to cook, undisturbed, for about 5 minutes. This helps the carrots create a golden spicy crust. After this step you can stir the carrots every couple minutes until they reach your desired degree of doneness. I prefer them tender but with a slight crunch still left in the middle; this took approximately 12-15 minutes.
Spoon into a bowl and garnish with minced parsley to finish. Curried carrots can be served with just about any protein; they are so versatile.
Curried carrots are a fun and spicy way to increase your serving of veggies and make excellent leftovers for the lunchbox. I couldn’t get enough of these carrots with dinner last night; enjoy!