As summer begins to set in, in weather and in the end of the school year (or in my case, the end of school, period) [JK THAT’S SO LAST MONTH], I find my cooking habits begin to shift with the season. I don’t want to actually cook anything, so much as I want lots of little cool salads to eat atop of bread. And I don’t want to buy them, so much as I’d like them to all be conveniently waiting for me in my fridge.Let’s rewind a few weeks: for the first and only time in my college career, I finished my exams, and effectively college, early this (past) semester. Seriously, come EVERY finals week, I would watch my friends gradually disappear from the library into the abyss of the ‘Sco and its PBR-filled glory. One time I even had it on a Saturday morning. SATURDAY. Saturday is for sleeping! [Or being hungover, if that’s your thing- I won’t judge] So when I realized my only exam was on a Wednesday, a whole THREE DAYS EARLY, I considered it KARMIC FUCKING PAYBACK. Excuse the rage, but c’mon, it was AWESOME. I celebrated by first, telling all my friends to suck it. Once I finally finished the final (Yes, I do amuse myself), I shotgunned a beer with a classmate who had also just finished college, outside the academic building. Juvenille? Completely. Satisfying? SO. DAMN. MUCH. And then I ran home and jumped up and down and looked over and saw both my housemates still studying. Oh, you guys don’t want to celebrate yet? Still got some papers to write? That’s rough, I’ll be at the bar if you need me. So why is any of this relevant to beets and carrots? [Since we all know this is clearly not hangover food] Well, after drinking and celebrating and whatnot, I found myself with a whole lot of free time on my hands. So I decided to take the time to actually roast a dish, which is much more than my standard saute or microwave *shame*. I drove to the local grocery store and leisurely examined my options from the newly bountiful produce section. So I scooped up a bunch of beets and some extra crisp-looking carrots and merrily went on my way.I had forgotten how nice it was to just calmly cook a meal, rather than rushing to fit it in between classes and work or whatever else was usually going on. While the vegetables and beets were roasting, I flipped through cookbooks to figure out a dressing. I chose raita because I thought it would be a nice, cool contrast to a warm salad.
All in all, it was a lovely early summer dinner, and made for great leftovers in the days to follow.
- Boiling the beets before roasting them, especially if done alongside a very fast-cooking vegetable like carrots, is key in getting them evenly cooked
- If you’re impatient about waiting for the beets to cool before peeling them, wearing latex gloves makes it more doable
- When chopping the vegetables, keep in mind the different cooking times, and chop larger or smaller pieces accordingly
Roasted Carrot and Beet Salad
1 bunch carrots
2 bunches beets, either red or gold, but preferably mixed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Coarse salt and pepper
2-4 cloves garlic (depending on size), crushed
Fresh thyme and/or rosemary
Juice of one lemon
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Remove stems from beets and carrots. Scrub to remove any dirt.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook beets for 10-20 minutes, depending on size.
- Drain and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel beets and chop them into 1” pieces
- Place cooled chopped beets and carrots in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt, and pepper.
- Arrange seasoned vegetables on a foil-lined roasting pan with garlic and fresh herbs, if using. Scatter a little extra salt and pepper
- Roast vegetables for 20-30 minutes, or until tender (but not mushy), rotating at least once halfway through cooking time.
- Drizzle with raita dressing (recipe follows). Serve warm or at room temperature. Salad, without dressing, keeps in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup diced/slivered cucumber
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Combine yogurt, spices and salt in a bowl.
- Stir in cucumbers.