Eat your carrots

How many times did my mother say this to us kids growing up? Eat your carrots. They’re good for you, especially for your eyes.

Of course, she was right. Among other things, carrots are a great source of beta carotene, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. They have very few calories and are supposed to help lower cholesterol. And your body converts all that beta carotene into vitamin A, which is … good for your eyes.

My mom used to stand over us and urge us to eat those carrots, but thankfully, I liked them. Even if back then they usually came out of a can and if they were fresh, she boiled them.

These days I like to munch on raw carrots and my favorite way to cook them is to roast them in the oven.

Carrots from the garden
A gift of carrots

Imagine my delight when I got home yesterday afternoon to find a bag of chunky carrots on my porch. I knew right away who they came from. We have become friends with a neighbor who has several gardens and beginning in August, we have often come home to find a bag of freshly picked vegetables.

Cabbage wedges in a steamer

This was last week’s gift. A huge head of cabbage. Thank you, John!

My mother also cooked a lot of cabbage. It was one of her favorite vegetables and easy to prepare for a houseful of kids (I’m the oldest of 8). She frequently made corned beef and cabbage or sometimes she substituted a ham shoulder. Say New England Boiled Dinner and it takes me right back. Comfort food.

Cabbage belongs to the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale and like carrots, they’re all packed with nutrients. Cabbage is also rich in vitamin B6 and folate, especially good for the nervous system. It’s also high in fiber and contains antioxidants. All good.

It was my turn in the kitchen last night and thanks to John’s vegetables there was no trying to figure out what I was going to make. Carrots and cabbage. I took his advice and simply steamed the cabbage. Easy and delicious.

I found a recipe for the carrots from Farm and Foliage Kitchen. OMG, so good. I cut it down. Saving the rest of my carrots for another meal.

Carrots in roasting pan
Coriander Roasted Carrots going into the oven

Coriander Roasted Carrots

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds assorted carrots
  • 2-3 tablespoons melted ghee
  • 2 tablespoons crushed coriander seed
  • A sprinkle of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F
  2. Give the carrots a wash, peel them if you’d like. I usually don’t. Lay the carrots out on a sheet pan.
  3. Use a brush to coat the carrots with ghee, then season with the coriander seed and sea salt.
  4. Roast in the oven, turning every 15 or 20 minutes until the carrots can be easily pierced with a knife.
  5. Remove from the oven and enjoy with your favorite source of protein.

For our protein, I added skinless, boneless chicken. I coated it with a little olive oil, dijon mustard, fresh rosemary, and thyme and roasted it next to the carrots. I also browned the chicken a bit under the broiler before serving to add a tiny bit of color.

Plate of chicken, carrots, and cabbage

I can clearly see that I won’t win any awards for presentation and a discerning eye might notice the chicken is a bit dry-looking. I don’t profess to be a whiz in the kitchen but at least I’m not afraid to try! I should have taken the chicken out a few minutes sooner, but it still had a deliciously subtle taste of dijon mustard and herbs. The cabbage was very satisfying. My mother would have wanted seconds. And the carrots were the star performers. I will definitely make them again.

PS. If you don’t know how to make ghee for the carrot recipe or what it even is, I found some good instructions and a short video on Downshiftology.com.

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Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.