Healthy side dishes. The bane of my existence at dinner parties. Usually meals are filled out with bread, mashed potato or rice. I want colour and nourishment too please sir! Sometimes I just want to cook a juicy piece of steak or a succulent baked chicken but it just doesn’t seem like a significant or memorable meal when paired with plain steamed vegetables. The solution – SPICE UP YOUR LIFE (every boy and every girl, SPICE UP YOUR LIFE!! People of the world, SPICE UP YOUR LIFE! – Spice Girl fans, are you with me?). Zaatar is the spice blend I’ll be using today.
This recipe is super simple, but its flavours and unique colours ensure its a memorable side dish. Zaatar is a spice blend of thyme, sumac, sesame, salt, coriander and cumin. Purple Zaatar Carrots is the name, and you don’t need much to get in the game! Grab the ingredients listed above (PLUS salt) and follow the steps below.
1. Preheat your oven to 200°C and chop the carrots into 2cm thick pieces, placing them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
2. Drizzle olive oil over carrots (add a little extra if needed) then sprinkle Zaatar and salt over the top. I use this zaatar but you can make your own if you’ve got thyme (get it, get it?! yes I do make myself laugh)!
3. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until tender enough that a skewer can easily slide through. At this point they should look like this:
I love how the carrots caramelise, I think spread across a frame this baking paper would make a fantastic piece of art (if it weren’t for the unwanted green and grey mould that would cultivate amongst it!).
4. Serve onto plate and top with lime zest, lime juice and some extra sesame seeds (the latter isn’t necessary for a great taste).
This is such a versatile dish, you could put it with anything but I think it would be great with baked lamb and some other vegetable sides! The zesty lime is the perfect way to balance the smooth yet woodsy and nutty flavours of the zaatar mix.
You can see how else I use Zaatar for an easy starter here. Enjoy!