A few weeks ago I felt like I desperately needed a full day for myself to decompress and do only what I wanted to do, which was absolutely nothing. On days like this I sleep in, prepare a quick breakfast, play a bit with my dog, then get cozy on the couch with a book or Netflix and Popsi snoring at my feet until it's my own nap time.
To the amusement of my friends, I still take naps. They constantly remind me that they quit taking naps when they were 7. I'm 31, but I still do it and get excited about it just like I did when I was a kid. Probably even a little bit more because it’s much harder to find time to do so now than when I was young.
I feel like in this fast paced world that we are living in, we barely have time to allow ourselves a little downtime. When was the last time you didn't have plans on a given weekend?
I used to think that I was wasting my day by doing nothing and even felt guilty for doing so. Not anymore though. Nowadays I just embrace these lazy days and enjoy them while they last.
On my days off, I rarely want to cook at home and prefer to go out and look for new ideas and recipes that inspire. I'm not pretentious when it comes to food, but I have certain expectations. I want simple dishes cooked with fresh ingredients.
The inspiration for this recipe came on one of these days at a local Italian food truck called Patrizi's. Although I almost always go with their roasted garlic bruschetta for the appetizer, this time I decided to try one of their specials- Roasted Carrots with Orange Yogurt. It sounded so light and refreshing that I couldn't pass on it.
I was so blown away by the sweet and tart combination of the carrots and orange that I knew I wanted to try to make something similar at home sometime soon. That time came earlier than expected when we received our CSA box of veggies from Johnson's Backyard Garden that week. It was loaded with gorgeous, fresh organic carrots and parsnips.
In my recipe, I'm using both carrots and parsnips, and instead of roasting them I decided to grill them for that added charred flavor that develops while grilling. I also added fresh oregano and orange zest to the yogurt sauce, and mint and orange juice to the grilled vegetables. The idea of adding fresh herbs came mostly out of convenience as not long ago I started to grown my own herbs in small pots outside on the patio.
I served this appetizer with a side of arugula salad sprinkled with olive oil and topped with sour cherries, walnuts and goat cheese, but it stands well served on its own. It's delicious, healthy and flavorful. Enjoy!
Grilled Carrots and Parsnips with Orange Yogurt
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Grilled Carrots and Parsnips
- 2 bunches carrots (10-12 whole), scrubbed or peeled
- 1 bunch parsnips (4-6 whole), scrubbed or peeled
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 8 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 TBS orange zest
- 1 TBS fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1 tsp caraway seeds, ground
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- kosher salt, to taste
- In a medium-large mixing bowl combine cleaned carrots, parsnips, 2 TBS olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well until the root vegetables are evenly coated.
- Fire up the grill to medium-high heat, around 425-475F (220-245C). If using a stovetop cast iron grill, set burners to medium-high heat.
- Place carrots and parsnips on the grilling grate. Cover (use aluminum foil if grilling on stove top) and grill for 5-10 minutes until the vegetables develop sear marks. Flip them over and continue grilling them until the crunch is gone but the resistance remains, about 20-25 more minutes. Make sure you're flipping them every 10 minutes so they don't get burned.
- In the meantime, prepare the orange yoghurt by combining all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Stir them together and let it sit in the refrigerator until the carrots are cooked. This way the flavors will blend and the sauce will taste better.
- Once cooked, remove the vegetables from the grill and toss them in a mixing bowl with the orange juice, chopped mint leaves and the rest of the olive oil.
- Serve the carrots and parsnips at room temperature over 2-3 tablespoons of yoghurt and sprinkle more mint on top.