Roasted Carrots with Cumin, Coriander and Fried Shallots

Roasted carrots with cumin, coriander, and fried shallots

I was heading to a potluck church friendsgiving. I had signed up to bring a fruit or vegetable side. And I promised myself it would be a storebought dish. I’d quickly stop and grab something at Fresh Market before squeezing in a run before the dinner. Instead I started thinking Fall and carrots and cumin and suddenly I was in the produce section instead of the prepared food section. The run didn’t happen but the carrots sure turned out tasty!!

4 bunches carrots

1 t cumin seed

2 t coriander seed

1 large shallot, sliced

4 T butter

Preheat oven to 500° with rimmed baking sheets on the bottom rack.
Scrub carrots and remove tops if present. Heat a small heavy skillet. Add the cumin and coriander to the hot skillet. Toast until fragrant, stirring occasionally and watching closely not to burn. Remove from skillet and grind. Set aside.
Melt the butter. Stir in ground spices and heat through.
Arrange carrots in a single layer on the preheated baking sheets. Brush with the spiced butter. Roast for 12-18 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a half inch of neutral oil in a small pan til sizzling. Fry the shallot slices until golden. Drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle over the carrots just before serving.

potluck grain salad

potluck grain salad ingredientsThis is a great side dish for potlucks when you want to offer a healthier option than the usual chips and dip. Without the optional goat cheese it even qualifies as vegan (though if your friends are as carnivorous as mine I wouldn’t recommend announcing that as you arrive at the potluck). It holds up really well in the fridge for leftovers the following day or two, which helps make up for the fact that with all the cooking and cooling it does require plenty of plan-ahead time and multiple pots and pans.

If you want to serve this as a one-dish meal add diced avocado (sticking with the plant-centric theme) or diced chicken. But if you’re expecting leftovers, serve the avocado on the side rather than mixing it in.

Potluck grain salad |
Potluck grain salad

A word about salads like this that count on layers of flavor. It can be tempting to count on the combination of ingredients and dressing to make the dish work, while being a little sloppy with the preparation of each element. But this dish will really sing only if each part of it can stand on its own. Remember to include salt in the cooking – bland lentils or quinoa will be the fastest way to turn all your work into a disappointment.

Potluck Grain Salad

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled

1/2 cup millet, cooked and cooled

1/3 cup french green lentils, cooked and cooled

1/2 cup wild rice, cooked and cooled

1 sweet potato, diced

olive oil


1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

1/2 bunch scallions, chopped

1 handful nuts – pine nuts or almonds

fruity clear vinaigrette**

crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cook the quinoa, millet, lentils and wild rice according to package instructions. Be sure to cook with a pinch of salt. Drain and cool.*

Meanwhile, peel and dice the sweet potato. Toss with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread on baking sheet and roast until tender. Cool.

Spread the nuts in a skillet and place in oven. Toast until golden. Cool.

Chop the scallions, including white and green parts. Chop the parsley.

Combine the quinoa, millet, lentils, wild rice, sweet potato, nuts, scallions and parsley. Add dressing, salt and pepper to taste to taste. Top with goat cheese if using.

*If you are pressed for time, spread on a baking sheet and place in the fridge for quicker cooling.

**I like to dress salads like this with a vinaigrette made with white balsamic. The color of regular dark balsamic will detract from the looks of this dish.