These maple roasted carrots with coriander and quinoa are the perfect addition to a winter feast. The high sugar content in carrots adds to their versatility making them suitable for sweet as well as savoury dishes; this recipe straddles somewhere between the two. Cooking the carrots slowly releases their natural sugars which, combined with the maple syrup, gives an almost candied effect. A balance between the piquant of the spices, the fragrance of the orange blossom, the sweetness of the carrots and the heat of the cayenne creates a satisfying dish. The cooking time here is a bit on the lengthy side so there is enough time for you to abandon the kitchen at mid-point while you wait for the carrots to cook.
In this version of the recipe the carrots are served as a sort of warm salad but, minus the quinoa, they could easily be served as an accompaniment to a roast dinner.
- 10 carrots
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 25ml maple syrup
- 4 tbsp walnut oil
- 3-4 sprigs of thyme
- 90g quinoa
- 1 tsp pink peppercorns
- 1 tsp orange blossom water
- Baby spinach leaves
- 1 small bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped plus a few extra sprigs for garnish
- Salt and pepper
- Heat the oven to 175C. Line a large oven dish with baking paper or reusable baking tray liner. Scrub the carrots and roughly chop into 2 inch chunks. Arrange in the oven dish. Crush the coriander seeds and place in a saucepan on a low-medium heat with the nigella seeds, cayenne pepper, maple syrup and 2 tbsp of the walnut oil. When the oil is hot pour over the carrots and toss until evenly covered. Nestle the sprigs of thyme between the carrots, season with salt and pepper and place in the middle shelf of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes taking out once or twice during cooking to give the carrots a bit of a rearrange.
- When the carrots have been in the oven for about an hour, cook the quinoa according to packet instructions (usually around 20 minute cooking time). It's nice if the quinoa is still warm when you mix it with the hot carrots.
- To make the sauce simply crush the pink peppercorns in a pestle and mortar, add the remaining 2 tbsps of walnut oil and the orange blossom water. Season and mix.
- After the allotted cooking time turn the oven up to 220C and move the carrots up to the top shelf to colour for ten minutes. Turn the carrots every few minutes to ensure they are browned all over then remove from oven.
- In a bowl mix the quinoa, spinach leaves and coriander. Place this on a platter or bowl and distribute the carrots over the top. Drizzle with the oil and garnish with a few sprigs of coriander.