Yesterday I received some incredible news.
I’m going to have a garden plot in one of my favorite community gardens in Philadelphia!! I have been dreaming of this day since I first laid eyes many years ago on the magical oasis currently plopped right in the center of what’s now my neighborhood. It’s dreamy. And green. And filled with dirt, and creatures, and veggies, and all the other outdoor components I miss often from my farmer days.
Spaces like these are in hot demand in the city, which of course is no surprise. Generally, they’re locked down with a waiting list so full of names that you could’ve moved to three other towns within the time that they call your name.
Luckily, my roommate and amigo has had her name on that list for three years. And yesterday, she got THE call. I moved into her house a few months ago, and am thrilled to have stumbled into this situation. I am more than excited to scheme up how we are going to takeover the world…I mean, this new 10×10 foot of land.
This was obvious reason to celebrate, and what better way to celebrate a new garden than with roasted carrots? (I would also argue these veggie tats are an excellent source of celebration. But that’s aside the point.)
One of my favorite veggies to grow is carrots because they simply taste 10 times better from the ground than they do from the plastic bags you get at the supermarket.
That thought has me chowing down on this light and healthy pilaf, rich in flavor and salty, feta + sunflower seed goodness. That saltiness gets balanced with a touch of sweetness, derived from both caramelized onions and earthy carrots, to create a well-rounded side dish or lunch.
Sure, those carrots pictured above are from Trader Joe’s…but this recipe’s in honor of my carrot-filled dreams and optimism for spring, when I’ll be eating out of my own garden. Cheers to that!
- -1 cup quinoa (+ 2 1/2 cups water)
- -6 med. carrots, halved lengthwise
- -1 lg. red onion, thinly sliced
- -Light olive oil
- -2 1/2 Tbsp. toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- -2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
- -1/3 cup feta, crumbled
- -Salt and pepper, to taste
- -1 1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- -Lemon wedge, to squeeze
- Place quinoa in a medium pot with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Then, reduce heat to a low simmer, and let cook for 15-20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, and place carrot halves on top. Toss with light olive oil until lightly coated. Sprinkle with cumin, also until lightly coated. Season with fresh ground salt. Bake 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender and caramelized.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 1/2 Tbsp. light olive oil in a skillet over medium high. Add onions, and fry until edges begin to brown. Season with salt; then reduce heat, and let onions continue to sweat and caramelize until carrots are finished roasting.
- When carrots are ready, slice on a diagonal. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl. Toss with 1 1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Season with fresh ground pepper, and a dash of salt. Add carrots, onion, seeds, and parsley. Toss, and then finish with feta and squeeze of lemon. Adjust salt, if needed. Serve.