I attempted to go some carrots and in my eagerness to grow all the carrots, I overcrowded my garden and the poor little guys had no room to grow. I ended up with a whole lot of tortured carrots, all twisted and knobbly. Nothing like the perfectly straight and fat carrots at the supermarket.
Not wanting to waste the carrots I put them to good use in this salad. I left the skins on as I peeled them, there would be no carrot left. But also skins house some vitamins and fibre and texture so I rarely peel anyway. I also threw in some store bought carrots, I cut them up small to match the size of my little carrots so they would all roast at the same time.
The great thing about cutting carrots small is that it doesn't matter what they look like to start with. So this would be a good salad to cook if you buy ugly carrots from the store or farmers market. Using up misshapen, but otherwise fine, produce minimizes the food that ends up in landfill and is an easy way to help reduce food waste.
This recipe uses a few ingredients that may present challenges when you're buying them as they often come in large quantities. If you don't think you can use them up and don't want to waste food then here are some easy swaps that will still give you a delicious salad:
Fenugreek, used here for a subtle peppery flavour - swap for rocket or double the quantity of baby spinach (this will remove the peppery flavour)
Supergrain mix, used simply to add variety to the salad - swap for any grains you have on hand such as brown rice, barley, quinoa or cous cous. Cook the grains according to their own directions.
Sunflower seeds and pepitas, used for a tasty crunch, added variety and protein - leave out all together, use only one or the other or swap for a toasted nut of your choice.
Sultanas, added for sweetness - swap for currants if you have them or 1 tsp of sugar.
For the spice mix, I chose to mix my own spice from basic dry spices instead of buying a premix. This will save waste as instead of having a mix I can only get one flavour from, I can use the spices in a variety of ways to get a range of flavours. This way, I'm more likely to use the full jar before they expire.
Roasted Carrot and Grain Salad
250g carrots - unpeeled and washed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pepitas
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 cup fenugreek leaves
200g canned chickpeas, drained and washed
1/4 teaspoon each ground coriander, ground ginger, cumin and onion powder
1/8 teaspoon each garlic powder and cinnamon
1 tsp sumac
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon sultanas
Preheat oven to 200oC.
Mix together the spice blend until combined.
Wash carrots and cut into small batons and place in a bowl, add spice mix and extra virgin olive oil. Toss to coat. Spread out onto a lined oven tray and bake for 20mins. Don't wash the bowl yet, add the seeds and pepitas to the bowl and toss to coat in residual oil and spice.
While the carrots are baking, cook the grain mix according to directions, drain and set aside.
When timer goes off at 20mins for the carrots, sprinkle over the coated seeds and pepitas and bake for another 5 mins.
To make the salad, divide spinach and fenugreek leaves into two bowls. Top with cooked grains, chickpeas and carrot and seed mix. Pour over dressing and serve while still warm.
To make the dressing:
Add sultanas to boiling water and set aside for 10 minutes. When ready, drain and finely chop the sultanas.
Add chopped sultanas and remaining dressing ingredients into a jar and shake to combine.