Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Paleo Diet: Citrus Roasted Carrot Salad

My brother, who until recently had been living overseas, has moved back into town, and with him he's brought the paleo diet.

prepped carrots
My brother, who doesn't cook. My brother, who had the staff at his local Chipotle making his order as opened the door to the restaurant and kept loan paperwork in his kitchen cupboards. That brother has purchased two slow cookers and three (three!) cookbooks. He is serious.
He has even talked my parents into trying it, and though I've been skeptical, I can't hold out anymore. I'm going to give it a 30 day trial. October is officially Paleo Month.

carrots with marinade
One of the reasons for my skepticism, is that with my brother, taste takes second place to performance. If the food is good for you, it's okay if it's bland, boring, or borderline unpleasant.  I refuse to eat that way. Food is one of the pleasures of living, and I will not have it reduced to celery juice and chicken breasts. (This may be the reason he's skinny and I'm not - but I like to think I have a better time.)
I've been looking through several paleo cookbooks, and come to the conclusion that it's not that bad. In it's most simplified form, it means no grains, no sugar, and no processed foods. This is not a big wrench for me, though I will miss bread. I like bread. They are also not in favor of cheese, which is going to hurt, but I'm determined to give this a fair trial.
ready for the oven
The salad below is a recipe I found in an article about eating for beautiful skin. I'm all for having beautiful skin, and I've checked it against my paleo books, and it meets all the requirements.

It also tastes good, the carrots are spicy, the dressing is a little sweet (orange juice) but not too sweet (lemon juice), the avocado adds some cool creaminess and the nuts give crunch.  All that and beautiful skin, too. What more can you ask for in a salad?

Isn't it lovely?
Citrus Roasted Carrot Salad with Avocado Spicy Greens and Toasted Pine Nuts
serves 4

1 orange, halved
1 lemon, halved
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (I used white)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound medium sized carrots, peeled
1 avocado, sliced
2 cups of spicy greens like arugula
¼ cup pine nuts (I used walnuts)
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a small food processor, pulse garlic, cumin, thyme, chili flakes, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and ¾ teaspoons black pepper. Then add vinegar and oil and mix until combined.

3. Put carrots on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour spice mixture on top. Place lemon and orange cut side down on top of carrots. Roast carrots until they are tender, about 45 minutes.

4. Pull out of oven and arrange carrots on a platter or divide on to serving plates. Carefully squeeze roasted lemon and orange wedge into a measuring cup. (This should yield ½ cup of juice.)

5. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Drizzle some of the sauce on top of carrots.

7. In a medium bowl place the arugula. Season with a touch of salt and pepper and drizzle one or two tablespoons of dressing on top. Mix gently.

8. Place arugula on top of carrots, and carefully tuck avocado slices in salad.

9. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts. Serve.

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