Carrots and potatoes love to be together, whether mashed, steamed, grilled, or roasted. Add a sauce (traditional or vegan) made with rosemary, garlic, and lemon, and you have a winning side dish.
I find myself thinking about side dishes this week. Our first snow flurries and plummeting temperatures this week, left no denying the fact we are well into November, and thus my thoughts turned to Thanksgiving. There’s always some serious thinking before determining what this year’s new side will be, and there has to be something different just to keep things interesting.
The table is already full
I don’t have a lot of wiggle room. We need the mashed potatoes and gravy or there would be a revolt, we have to have the squash, the Brussels sprouts with pancetta are a must, as are the creamed onions, homemade cranberry sauce, and caramelized onion and mushroom stuffing, although we do swap out different stuffings from time to time. We have salad – just to be healthy – and a few other musts, but I like to slide in something different each year just because I have to! I don’t want to make the same meal always, so I am forever looking for different side dishes to brighten up the Big Meal.
My redux of my mom’s creamed onions was an absolute hit a couple years back, so it became the new tradition. It was really just a few simple changes that made the difference.
Now, what can we do with the carrots?
I’ve always loved carrots and potatoes together, often in soups and stews, or two among a multitude of vegetables roasted or in a stir fry. But we seldom cook them together as co-stars of a dish. One of my favorite ways to eat them is steamed and then mashed together, equal parts, and served simply with butter salt and tons of pepper. Not exciting, but delicious. I was looking for a little more of the exciting.
I wanted to spice things up a bit, so I thought a blend of Moroccan spices would do nicely. I added a little extra cayenne since I wanted more of a bite to them, but that is optional. I gleaned some of the last rosemary from the garden, and while it is not a traditional herb used in Moroccan cooking, I added a couple of sprigs directly to the pan, and reserved one for the sauce. Why not? I’ve found that
Roasted vegetables love creamy sauces
Since the family loves a creamy sauce on roasted vegetables, and I had some crème fraîche in my refrigerator, I decided to use that as the base, but you could substitute sour cream, or, for a healthier version, yogurt, or coconut yogurt. A head of garlic roasted along with the vegetables would be a nice addition as well and, of course, lemon!
To add yet more mis-matched flavors, I used coconut oil on the roasting pan, and tossed in a handful of fresh cranberries at the last minute. I had just bought them at the farm stand, and they were sitting on the table asking to be used! They mostly cooked down, but added a really interesting pop of tart!
Spiced Carrots and Potatoes with Rosemary Crème Fraîche
This is a really simple and quick recipe. As always, use the freshest more local produce you can find.
2 tbsp. coconut or olive oil
1 lb carrots, sliced into coins
1 lb. potatoes, sliced into coins
1/3 cup or so fresh cranberries
1 head garlic, top sliced off
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 to 1 tsp. Moroccan seasoning, below
1/4 tsp. cayenne, optional
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 450 and place a rimmed baking sheet inside.
Prep your vegetables. Peel (if desired) and cut the carrots and potatoes into coins, and slice off the top of the head of garlic to ready it for roasting.
Once the sheet is hot, add the coconut oil and let it melt. Place the carrots and potatoes on the sheet, toss them with a spatula to coat both sides, then move them around to be a single layer. Sprinkle with the Moroccan seasoning, salt, and pepper, and lay the rosemary sprigs on top. Add the garlic head to the sheet.
Roast for 20 minutes, then turn the vegetables over. Roast another 10 minutes, or until a knife can be easily inserted in the vegetables. Set the garlic aside for the sauce.
Plate and serve with the rosemary sauce.
Rosemary & Roasted Garlic Crème Fraîche Sauce
½ cup crème fraîche, sour cream, or yoghurt, or vegan substitute*
Zest of a lemon
Juice of one-half lemon
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely minced
2 tbsp. roasted garlic pulp
1 tsp. honey, maple syrup, or agave
1/2 tsp. Moroccan seasoning
Salt and pepper
Taste as you go with this, and make it yours. Add just a little of the seasoning at first, taste, and if you want more sprinkle it in. The honey helps balance out the sharpness of the lemon, but you can use maple or agave syrup if you like. I used rosemary in this because I had a lot in the garden, but it is not essential for the sauce, and you might like a different herb.
*Vegan “Crème Fraîche”
In a blender, combine 1/2 brick silken tofu with a tsp. of maple syrup, a tbsp. of grape seed or other neutral oil, a pinch of salt, and the juice of one lemon. Process until thick and creamy.
There are probably as many Moroccan seasoning recipes as there are cooks. This is simple, and quite tasty. Mix everything together, place in a jar, cover tightly, and store in a cool, dry place. You can use more or less of the hot paprika, or leave it out if you don’t want heat.
- 3 tbsp. sweet Paprika
- 1 tbsp. hot paprika
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 2 tbsp. turmeric
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- 1 tbsp. fennel
- 1 tbsp. anise
- 1 tbsp. black pepper
- 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
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