Trying to pair a salad with a full-bodied red wine? Seriously difficult! Coming up with that healthy salad recipe for a very cool wine pairing lunch at a local winery was my challenge recently! Fortunately, I had a seriously sexy bunch of rainbow carrots…
Before I get to today’s recipe for this roast rainbow carrot salad with mustard greens and roast citrus-maple vinaigrette, it just hit me that I should mention how much fun it was to have a chance to build menus and create recipes around complimenting one very specific wine. It’s amazing to have a job that not only allows me to be creative, but one that actually forces creativity. It’s so easy to fall into a position where you aren’t challenging yourself, or maybe one where you just don’t have that creative outlet. Sometimes you wind up focusing all of your efforts on making one person happy, whether it’s in a personal relationship or at work, without taking enough time to focus on your own health. Being my own boss has really allowed me to explore so many different ideas than I might otherwise have time to play with. The fun thing about cooking and creating menus is that it encourages this constant focus on creativity that you can strengthen and grow. It’s really like exercising any other muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Stop using it for a while and it will atrophy. I’m at the very, very beginning of this process, but it’s sort of like starting an exercise program that you just can feel will make a huge difference in how you feel and how you live.
Even just figuring out the madness that is creating a website and a blog is forcing me to be creative and inventive in ways I never have been before. I’ve been moving from a WordPress.com site to a self-hosted one (Siteground rocks!), and I can’t tell you how frustrating that has been! I am not trained in anything technology-related, so figuring out how to do any of this at the same time that I’ve been doing it has been kind of like being dropped off in a foreign country with no idea how to speak the language. That is, though, the fastest way to learn!
(Be aware; I’m still figuring this stuff out and you will probably have a number of times where things don’t look right! Maybe I should find one of those cute little “site under construction” images…)
I think tomorrow I’ll discuss what I’ve been going through with transitioning my site, on the off-chance someone reading this is going through the same thing. I only hope my lack of technical know-how isn’t too embarrassing! It was a struggle for me, but the payoff is totally worth it! I’m learning how to do things that I never thought that I could do! It’s frustrating, maddening, exciting, challenging, and incredibly gratifying. Maybe I can help someone else with the baby steps I’ve taken so far!
Okay! Back to the autumn-centric, super-yummy vegetarian salad recipe!
Baby heirloom rainbow carrots and mustard greens with spiced pumpkin seeds and cumin yogurt! I balanced the bitterness of the mustard greens with a dressing that was sweetened with roast citrus and maple syrup. (I’m a huge fan of all things citrus. Here’s an awesome carpaccio, a gorgeous feel-good salad, and a super healthy forbidden rice bowl. Oh! Can’t forget the healthy chicken breast recipe, the two-ingredient no-cook preserved lemons, and the unbelievably easy limoncello!) Rainbow carrots are sweet to begin with, and toasting the citrus mellows and sweetens it, softening the sharp edges of raw fruit. It was especially important to focus on mellowing the sharper flavors (like the mustard greens) in the face of the wine pairing.
Colorful Roast Rainbow Carrots with Mustard Greens and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
- 3 bunches baby rainbow carrots, cleaned, peeled, and cut in half lengthwise
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbs plus 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp toasted ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 pinch aleppo chili
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 orange, halved
- For the dressing:
- Juice from roast citrus (above)
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 Tbs maple syrup
- 1 pinch chili powder
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp toasted ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 pinch of aleppo
- 1 bunch mustard greens, or other bitter green
- 2 Tbs spiced pumpkin seeds
- Preheat oven to 450°
- Put the carrots in a sauce pan, cover with cold water, add 1 tbs salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender 1-2 minutes.
- Drain, toss with other ingredients (not the citrus).
- Spread out in a single layer on a sheet tray covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Add the citrus, cut side down.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots begin to color.
- Remove from oven, allow to cool.
- Mix all of the ingredients for the yogurt together, taste, and adjust seasoning
- Toss the greens and carrots with the dressing, taste, and adjust seasoning. Plate and top with pumpkin seeds. Either drizzle the yogurt over or serve on the side. Enjoy!
There you have it! Another vegetarian recipe with tons of flavors that can pair with a red wine!