side dish

Almond Butter and Spice Roasted Carrots

Have you ever had a dish out at a restaurant that immediately makes you want to try to recreate it at home? Maybe that’s just how my foodie brain works, but it’s where some of our home-run dishes get their inspiration from!

When Danny and I were dating, some of the experiences that helped to open his eyes and taste buds up to trying new foods the most was dining out. Whether it was on a date with me, lunch with his co-workers or bosses, or dinner with the future-in-laws, he was much more apt to giving something a bite in these settings. Yes, restaurant food has the added benefit of copious amounts of fat and salt added to make most anything taste out of this world, but it’s a start! Take a dish from a restaurant that was pleasing and run with it by cooking it at home, but adding a healthy, yet still very tasty, twist on it.

I went out to dinner with some girlfriends a few weeks ago and we shared a dish that I immediately thought, “Danny would love this and it would be another way to spice up carrots!” I was right on the money and Danny did in fact love my take on this restaurant-inspired vegetable side.

I promise you, the combination of nut butter and carrot is not as odd as you think!

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Almond Butter and Spice Roasted Carrots- serves 2 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 2 large whole carrots, cleaned well and diced into 1-inch coins

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 4 tbsp crunchy almond butter

  • 2 tsp thinly sliced fresh red chile pepper

  • Juice from half of one lime

  • Sea salt to finish

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Clean and diced carrots into 1-inch coins. Toss with olive oil and spread in a flat layer on a foiled lined baking tray. Roast for 25 minutes or until carrots begin to brown and caramelize on the edges. Remove and place in a mixing bowl.

  2. To the carrots add almond butter, chiles, and lime juice. Use a spoon to gently toss so that the almond butter evenly coats the carrots. To serve, sprinkle with a finish of chunky sea salt and enjoy.

Savory Rosemary Granola

We’ve all heard how sugary granola can be- some varities containing upwards of 15 grams per 1/2 cup (and let’s be real, no one is eating just a half cup), which is three-quarters of the way to the level recommended Americans consume in added sugars. So, when a friend of mine told me she had a savory granola at a restaurant, the wheels in my culinary brain started turning and I was determined to make my own!

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What resulted was a nutty-tasting, crispy yet crumbly, herb-packed topping that I have been adding to just about everything! This granola is nut free, gluten free, and could be made vegan by substituting more olive oil for the egg white. With so many diet preferences these days, I bet you’ll be cooking Thanksgiving for someone with an allergy or intolerance, so this granola is the perfect answer to everyone’s needs.

I have so far used this seed topper on my steamed green bean side dish, added it to last week’s potato and cauliflower soup for a bit of crunch, would even be so daring as to bring it in to breakfast and use it over eggs, and highly recommend it as a nosh for your holiday hors d’oeuvre hour. I hope you enjoy!

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Savory Rosemary Granola- makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup popped amaranth

  • 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds

  • 1/4 cup unsalted pepitas

  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds

  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary

  • 1 tbsp dried fennel seed

  • 1 egg white, beaten

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and use a wooden spoon to combine everything together, ensuring an even coating. Spread mixture in an even layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes.

  3. After 10 minutes, stir mixture by turning over with a spatula. Bake for 10 more minutes, keeping an eye on to not burn. Remove from oven once mixture looks lightly browned and toasted. With a spoon, gently break into shards for snacking, or crumble completely to use as a topping.

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