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Cumin Roasted Carrots with Haloumi & Fresh Dill

Hey everyone! Hoping you are doing well and enjoying this glorious month of September!! Here in Vancouver, we are still being treated to some post-summer glory called sunshine while the days grow ever shorter, cramping the style of those of us who love taking photos of our food (seriously, daylight, we need you!). Well I guess there's always next year :)

This week marks the official 'launch' of NSF and we've had a fantastic time getting ready to spread the word at the one of my very favorite places: the Vancouver Farmer's Markets! To stay up to date on what we are up to, head over the Not So Fast website (if you haven't been already) and see just how we plan to feed people, starting with delicious recipes like the ones found here on the blog.

One of our initiatives will see families in need having access to the Farmer's Markets, as we recognize the all too familiar notion that Farmer's Markets can be viewed by many as inaccessible. We are sincere in our hope that our small part can help to change that all too saddening perspective. We understand that while it's true that it's all too easy to drop a giant wad of our precious bills at the beautiful and sometimes too tempting market stalls, but we also know it is still perfectly feasible to walk away with a few nutritious locally grown goodies for $10 or less (kale & potatoes anyone?).

Today I'm sharing a recipe inspired by the plethora of bunched carrots available at the market these days, and this combination is lovely with loads of fresh dill and one of my favorite dairy foods: haloumi cheese. If you are vegan, I suggest trying the carrots on their own, though a few strips of tamari baked tofu would also work incredibly well here.

Haloumi cheese is a firm, salty cheese (similar to Indian Paneer) that comes from Cyprus, and it is meaty & satisfying. A little goes a very long way here and while it may be surprising I have a fried cheese recipe here, and as a treat it's fantastic, and the trick here is just to not go too crazy! It's amazingly intense and a little really does go a long way.

Cumin Roasted Carrots with Haloumi & Fresh Dill:

  • (2) bunches of carrots with greens on (about 8-14 medium to small carrots)
  • (1-2) tbsp olive oil
  • (2) tsp ground cumin (optional)
  • up to (1/2) cup fresh dill, rinsed & chopped
  • (1/2) package Haloumi cheese (about 125 grams), or an equal portion of cooked paneer or tofu

Shallot Citrus Dressing:

  • (1/2) cup extra virgin olive oil
  • (2) tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • (2) tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • (3) tbsp shallots
  • (1/4) tsp salt
  • (1) tbsp sugar

Start by heating the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the tops from the carrots and add to the compost. Clean the carrots as well as you can, being careful not to scrub them too clean...there is evidence that a little organic soil residue left on your veggies is good for you (there is some good bacteria in there or so I hear).

Place the carrots on a flat baking tray and add the oil & cumin (if using) directly onto the pan. Roll the carrots around to get them all well coated in oil & spec and when ready, pop them in the oven to cook until brown on parts and soft-ish (35-40 minutes).

While the carrots cook, combine the dressing ingredients in a small jar & set aside. Chop the fresh dill to your desired coarseness and set aside. When the carrots are just about ready (about 5-10 minutes left to cook), cut the Haloumi cheese into (1/2) inch slices, letting the slices break further into halves if they naturally do so (the should be roughly one inch wide strips). Heat a non stick frying pan on high and place the cheese strips flat on the pan. Cook the cheese on either side until turning brown (no oil is necessary), roughly 3-4 minutes per side (no need to flip them too many times and once the cheese reaches heat it will cook fairly quickly).

Once ready*, set the cooked cheese aside to cool. When the carrots are ready, remove them from oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes in a cool flat pan.

*It is a good idea to cook the whole package of haloumi and keep it on hand for lunches. The intense flavor of the salty cheese makes a lovely surprise in a bean salad or a wrap the next day.

To assemble the salad, simply arrange the whole roasted carrots in a shallow bowl or on a platter atop a bed of your favorite (optional) greens. Scatter the cooked haloumi on and around the carrots and gently mingle the two together. Top with as much fresh dill as desired and up to (1/3) cup of the shallot dressing, as desired.

Enjoy this lovely & satisfying combo warm or cold, you really can't go wrong. Serve with a lovely loaf of bread or perhaps a side of plain quinoa, the dressing recipe here provides enough to dress anything, and I can't think of a more complete meal than adding a little nutritious grain. Kept in the fridge, leftovers will keep for a while, so enjoy as an add-on to any weekday meal or lunch on the go.

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