The best Saturdays are ones where you wake up, grab a cup of coffee, and immediately start scheming lunch creations with your friend. (Foraging figs, going on a photo adventure, and scheming up breakfast, all follow close behind.)
This was the first full weekend I’ve been completely free in awhile. Two Philly mornings in a row with no set agenda. No photo gigs. No work engagements. No client meetings, camping trips, or out-of-town excursions.
While I love all of the above, it felt great. And it felt even greater once this socca landed on my Saturday plate.
On Friday night, I saw Aziz Ansari do stand-up. His act was hilariously relatable, to say the least, ranging from riffs on the factory meat industry to creepy boys to relationship vs. single life status. He hit all the right topics, and made my abs hurt from laughing so much.
Although, there was one joke with which I just couldn’t agree. And it had to do with carrots.
You see, Aziz claims, you walk into a house and someone’s cooking bacon, and often you’ll say, “Plate me up a few pieces!” Aziz is convinced bacon exudes a pheromone-like lust that veggies just don’t have. He says, walk into a house where someone’s steaming carrots, and you won’t find anyone screaming, “Pull me up a plate of those.”
But Aziz, I must tell you, you’re wrong. This carrot-loving [weirdo?] individual would far prefer carrots to bacon. And no, not for health reasons. For taste.
Carrots are hands-down my favorite, and since the mention on Friday night, my Saturday morning mind inserted them straight into that afternoon’s lunch plans.
Roasted carrots? One of fall’s best assets, if I have to say so myself. Perhaps steaming wouldn’t do the trick, but throw carrots on a baking sheet and into the oven, and I bet at least a few would be enticed by the caramelized smell they give off. Plate me up, please.
With the orange beauties in mind, my friend and I got to work on this fall-inspired socca pizza.
Here, carrots are roasted up, and then pureed into a slightly sweet, slightly spicy curry sauce that lends itself perfectly to a flavorful flatbread destination. Topped with salty feta, fresh cilantro and some crispy baked onions, this is a better-than-restaurant-quality meal, fit into a single cast iron pan.
You’ll find multiple steps below in making this recipe. Don’t get intimidated. Each is simple, and you can get going on many of the layers simultaneously. For instance, as the carrots roast, prep everything else.
Far better than bacon? A definite. Stemming from carrots? Heck yeah.
You tell me – what healthy fall ingredients are on your mind? Any featuring veggies that you know could out-do bacon in a heartbeat? Please share!
- For the Curried Carrot Sauce:
- -Extra virgin olive oil
- -5 large carrots, cut into long pieces
- -1 tsp. cumin
- -1/2 tsp. red curry paste
- -1/3 lg. lime, juiced
- -3/4 cup water
- For the Socca:
- -1 cup garbanzo bean flour
- -1 cup water
- -1 tsp. + scant 1/2 tsp. salt
- -1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Remaining toppings:
- -1/2 cup black lentils
- -1 large onion, divided in half
- -1/4 cup Feta
- -2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds, toasted until brown in a pan
- -Fresh ground salt and pepper
- For the Socca: Combine all socca ingredients in a bowl. Set aside to rest while preparing remaining components
- For the Curried Carrot Sauce: Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay carrots on sheet, and toss with olive oil to lightly coat. Sprinkle with cumin, and season with salt and pepper. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until fork tender. (Begin to prepare lentils. See below.)
- Once carrots are finished cooking, add to a blender or food processor. Add red curry paste, lime juice, and 3/4 cup water. Puree until smooth.
- For the lentils and onion: As carrots are roasting, dice 1/2 of the red onion. Place in a pot with the lentils, 1/2 tsp. of salt, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook 25 minutes, or until just tender.
- With remaining half of onion, slice thinly. Place on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Cook 10-12 minutes, or until onions get browned and slightly crispy.
- To finish the Socca: Place a cast iron pan in the 400F oven. Heat up for 5 minutes. Remove, then pour socca batter into the pan. Return to oven and cook 10-15 minutes, or until socca is cooked through and turns golden brown.
- Top with a generous layer of the Curried Carrot Sauce. Sprinkle lentils, crispy onions, feta, cilantro, and pumpkin seeds on top. Serve.