I recently watched the documentary “In Defense of Food” on Netflix. I highly recommend it – Michael Pollan so succinctly said everything I believe about food and a healthy lifestyle! It was wonderful to get validation of my experiences, to learn that others too are discovering and promoting that which I’ve become so passionate about, obviously in a much more eloquent way than I ever could.
The film was advocating a return to eating real food. A move away from eating things from packages and thinking about food in terms of what nutrient is contains more or less of (ie no transfat! Low fat! High fiber!). A move back to cooking and preparing your own food, and discovering the health benefits that go along with that lifestyle. Michael kep saying that healthy eating was so simple, yet we are easily fooled by supermarkets and advertising. I wrote about this in my essay, The Case for Cooking. Even with the best of intentions, you’re fighting an uphill battle shopping in a supermarket these days. Healthy eating is simple – it is cooking your own food from fresh ingredients.
The past 10 years have been a transformative journey for me in many aspects. From going through and recovering from an eating disorder, to trying numerous fad diets, to thinking I was eating healthy when I really was far from it. Now, it really does seem so simple, though back then I couldn’t see it. I eat better than ever, I eat healthier than ever, and I feel better than ever. It’s the best gift you can give yourself!
Simple vegetable side dishes are what makes plant-based eating sustainable and enjoyable.
There are so many things I love about this dish. It’s simple and easy to prepare. Using the carrots tops in the pesto seems like such a rudimentary idea, but really why should we discard the tops? Out of respect for the plant we took out of the ground, we should eat and enjoy the whole thing. (I also just watched Chef’s Table, S2E2 where Alex Atala talks about this). Lastly, it is so, so delicious. Like, I-ate-half-the-plate-after-taking-this-picture delicious. Don’t you love when simple vegetable side dishes just do it for you?
More Simple Vegetable Side Dishes to Try:
Roasted Carrots & Carrot Top PestoPrint Recipe
- 4 bunches of medium - small carrots (at least 2 bunches with the tops)
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 cups carrots tops, stems removed
- 1 1/2 cups basil leaves
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup whole fat greek yogurt
- Paprika for sprinkling
- Salt and pepper to taste
Clean the carrots. Remove and reserve the tops. Preheat oven to 425F. Lay carrots flat on a large baking sheet. Toss in olive oil. Salt to taste. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, tossing carrots every 10 minutes, until nicely browned.
While carrots are roasting, prepare the pesto. Add garlic and nuts to a food processor. Process. Add both greens as well as the pepper flakes and process. In a slow drizzle, add olive oil until a paste forms. I like a thicker pesto (about 1/2 cup oil), but more oil can be added for a thicker one. When your desired consistency is reached, salt and pepper to taste.
Layer yogurt at the bottom of the plate. Place some of the pesto at the bottom on the plate. When carrots come out of the oven, lay them on the plate and top with more pesto. Sprinkle paprika over all.
I only used about 1/2 of the pesto I made, so I tossed some fresh pasta and tomatoes in the leftovers the following night for a deliciously easy meal. Use it within the week with another meal, or freeze for up to 3 months.