My family joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm share this year. I’ve been enjoying my weekly visit to the farm (only 4 miles from my house!) and meeting the people that grow my food. I am also loving the abundance of vegetables and the challenges of cooking what you have, as opposed to shopping for a recipe.
One thing to note, if there’s a crop that’s doing particularly well, you’re going to get a lot of that item. For the past thirteen weeks, only one week’s pick up lacked carrots. Now, carrots are an incredibly versatile root vegetable and there are a million things you can do: raw snacking, pickles, side salads, soups, and of course, my favorite variety of cake. But when the carrots just keep coming, sometimes you need to look for new options. One of my go-to’s is this amazing carrot sofrito enchilada recipe, which I may post more about later. For more carrot goodness, see ideas below, and forthcoming, as this exercise made me think of lots of things!
If you’re not familiar with using veggies in place of pasta, here’s a quick overview. You can use a vegetable or julienne peeler, or a spiral slicer. You can eat the “noodles” raw or cooked. I’ve always been a fan of a peanut sauce on vegetable noodles, but went with a lighter, Mediterranean flavor profile here. For the noodles above, I gave the spiraled carrots a quick boil, which helps puff them slightly and softens the crunch a bit. After draining, I tossed them with melted butter, capers, a little white wine, red pepper, and topped with toasted hazelnuts.
Macaroni and Carrot Sauce
I have fooled my children. A “cheesy” sauce containing no dairy, plenty of vitamin A, fiber, and some protein from the cashews. I tried this two ways and found it’s best served as a stovetop mac as opposed to baked, keeping it light and creamy.
In food processor or blender, combine sweet onion and steamed carrots with 1 cup vegetable broth, ¼ cup nutritional yeast and 2 tbsp rice vinegar. Return to saucepan to heat. Boil pasta to desired doneness, drain, and add to the carrot sauce.
Salt roasting carrots followed by a long marination can produce a lox-like carrot product that is truly wonderful. I was curious, what if the carrots were first roasted in nori sheets?
I’m going to test this some more and will update with any changes (and hopefully a more attractive roll), but the nori does in fact impart an ocean flavor to the carrots. Thinly slice carrots length wise, place in small oven dish and layer with nori and salt. Roast at 375° for about 30 minutes. Remove carrot slices from nori, rinse off any excess salt. Marinate in 1 tbsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp soy, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp liquid smoke, 1 tbsp maple syrup overnight. Prepare your sushi rice, spread the rice and carrots, and roll.
Full disclosure: I’ve never liked hot dogs. It was always a disappointment as a kid to find that was what was being served at a friend’s birthday or family cookout. The smell, the texture, the taste, I found it all repellant. When I became a vegetarian in the early 1990s, there weren’t any meatless hot dog substitutes on the market. Imagine a new level of disappointment when those tasteless rubbery tubes did become available in supermarkets and every well meaning relative wanted to offer me a nifty vegetarian product to imitate what they were having. The only hope was to slather the veggie dog with condiments and try to choke it down. After a couple attempts, I decided to just say no. Those puppies aren’t going to fool anyone, and it wasn’t something I cared to simulate anyway. We’ve all heard horror stories about what’s really involved in hot dog production, and in 2015 Clear Labs published a report stating 10% of vegetarian products contain meat, including pork in a vegetarian hot dog. Yuck.
Enter the carrot dog. I’ve seen this making the rounds on the internet and in cookbooks, and honestly, it was another turn-off. Seemed like bland health food and another opportunity for omnivores to mock vegans. I had no interest. Then, I had so many carrots I didn’t know how to incorporate them all into meals. Okay, fine. I’ll try it. But I’m not going to like it.
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Add carrots, cook until just fork tender, about 10 minutes.
- Mix vinegar, water, tamari, garlic powder, and liquid smoke in a resealable bag.
- Add carrots to marinade bag, shake, place in fridge for 24 hours.
- Grill those carrot dogs and top to your liking!
Guys, I gotta say, I was wrong. This. Is. Amazing. There are many ways to dress a dog, I went with mustard, pickled red onions and pickled jalapeños. Served with maple baked beans, coleslaw, and salad completes a meal worthy of any summer party. I don’t know how to relate it to a meat hot dog, as it has been so long. It is far superior to any commercially prepared veggie dog, and no, it does not taste at all like a carrot simply thrown into a bun. My daughter insisted on having the leftovers for school lunch the following day, and was sad to find I did not have an endless supply on the ready. Time to marinate some more carrots!