Photo: Hugh Forte
Za’atar Roasted Carrots
These generously seasoned, sweet roasted carrots remind me that this vegetable can take on such a variety of spices. The Middle Eastern spice za’atar is typically a blend of thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds. While maybe not a spice blend you stock in your cupboard, it’s wonderful mixed into labneh or Greek yogurt for a dip, with greens, feta, and chickpeas for a side salad, or as a marinade for grilled kebabs. Or maybe you’ll be reserving it for a few batches of these savory roasted carrots.
I try to pick bundles of carrots on the smaller side so I only have to slice them lengthwise before roasting. Larger carrots work fine, just slice them crosswise as well to get manageable pieces on your roasting sheet.
1½ pounds young carrots, cleaned
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
2 teaspoons za’atar
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons tahini
Juice of ½ lemon
⅓ cup crumbled feta
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400ºF.
Trim the carrots. Cut them in half lengthwise and, if they’re on the larger side, crosswise on a diagonal as well. Mix together the olive oil, orange juice, zest, za’atar, and a few pinches of sea salt. Toss the carrots in the spice mixture and spread them on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes until the edges begin to brown. Mix together the tahini and lemon juice. Drizzle the carrots with the tahini mixture and sprinkle with the feta, sesame seeds, parsley, and a pinch of freshly ground pepper.
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