I believe that roasting vegetables brings out the most intense flavor. Root veggies, squash varieties and tomatoes become sweeter; cauliflower and broccoli take on an almost creamy texture; peppers become smoky and tender. Thus, I had never imagined a way to make simply roasted carrots and parsnips, already sweet and tender, even better until I read Francis Lam’s recipe on Gilt Taste for the best ever roasted carrots.
What elevates roasted carrots from simple–possibly boring–side dish to best ever, a food that you would crave and maybe want to snack on like popcorn? The answer is so simple and genius it made my mouth literally drop open: parmesan cheese in frico form. I had to go home and make this dish immediately, and then again as a brunch side dish a couple days later. Amazing, decadent, delicious in 15-20 minutes!
Of course I made my own spin on it, adding the even sweeter parsnips and turning to my favorite and pantry-staple manchego instead of the parmesan and adding a pinch of cayenne for some extra heat. The result was delicious, a sweet, salty, spicy, nutty combination of flavors that set off fireworks in my brain like in Pixar’s Ratatouille when the mushroom and cheese combined over the smoke of the chimney. Yum! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Materials and Methods for “Best Ever” Roasted Carrots and Parsnips
- 1/4 c. manchego cheese, finely grated using a microplane
- 3 carrots cut into equally sized rounds or chunks (keep rotating the carrot a quarter turn and cutting on a 45 degree angle)
- 3 parsnips cut into equally sized rounds or chunks
- 1 T. garlic oil
- pinch cayenne (whatever that means to your palette, optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Make three equal piles of cheese. Sprinkle one of the three piles on the bottom of an ungreased baking dish.
- Toss the carrots, parsnips, garlic oil and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Add one of the two remaining piles of cheese to the carrots and parsnips and toss to coat.
- Place the carrots and parsnips evenly over the cheese. The goal here is not to move the cheese layer on the bottom so actually use your fingers and place them one at a time.
- Sprinkle the last pile of cheese over the top of the carrots and parsnips to fill any gaps in the cheese layer.
- Stick in the oven and roast until the carrots and parsnips are tender and at their sweetest and the cheese is golden brown. 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes.
- Using a spatula, scrape the cheese and veggies off the pan and into your serving dish. Enjoy!
FODMAPs/Lactose-intolerance note: Any hard, aged cheese is actually devoid of any lactose so both manchego and parmesan are good choices if you have a cheese craving. This recipe is a lovely, FODMAPs friendly side dish!