Roasted Carrots and Fennel with Miso Tahini Sauce

Roasted Carrots and Fennel with Miso Tahini Sauce

Thanksgiving is just one week away and I’ve been trying to decide what veggie side dish to bring for the past couple of weeks! I like to keep it simple when it comes to sides. For me the star is always the stuffing and gravy, everything else is just there to balance it out, ya know?

This easy roasted vegetable side is perfect for Thanksgiving or any day of the week! Roasting the carrots and fennel at a high temperature lets them get tender and lightly caramelized without turning mushy. The Miso Tahini Sauce is tangy, creamy and bursting with umami flavor.

The veggies and sauce can be prepped ahead of time and assembled the day of (see notes on the bottom). Garnish with some toasty hazelnuts, juicy pomegranate seeds and fresh cilantro for a beautiful, festive dish.

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What temperature should I roast veggies at?

This depends on what vegetable it is and how you want it to turn out. In general, I like to roast all of my vegetables at between 400-450F. This way they can get crispy/caramelized without getting too mushy.

If the pan is too crowded, the veggies can steam and get mushy rather than caramelize. If this happens, I’ll sometimes throw it under the broiler for a couple of minutes to get a nice char.

Lots more info on veggie roasting here!

What vegetables can be roasted together?

Soft veggies like asparagus, zucchini, bell pepper, eggplant, etc… won’t take as long to cook as harder veggies like potatoes, winter squash, beets, broccoli, etc…

Try to roast vegetables together that take the same amount of time to cook. OR add the softer veggies in halfway through baking.

Where do you find miso paste in the store?

Miso paste is available at most grocery stores in the refrigerated section. The best for making dressings and sauces is mellow white miso paste. My favorite brand is Miso Master.

If you can’t find miso paste, you can substitute 1/2 tsp or more of salt, always to taste!

How do I roast nuts?

Preheat the oven to 350F. Add the hazelnuts to a baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes, stirring halfway. You know they are done when they become super fragrant and a a very light golden color. To remove the skins, let them cool and transfer them to the center of a dish towel. Use the towel to rub them all together. This will get most of the skins off, but don’t worry if some are stubborn!

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Roasted Carrots and Fennel with Miso Tahini Sauce

Serves 3-4, as a side

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs rainbow or regular carrots, sliced on the diagonal (see picture above)
1 fennel bulb, core removed, sliced
2 tbsp avocado oil
½ tsp salt
¼ cup tahini
2 tbsp mellow white miso paste
2 tbsp + 1 tsp lemon juice
¼ cup water
¼ cup chopped roasted hazelnuts
¼ cup cilantro
¼ cup pomegranate seeds

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Add the carrots and fennel to the baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with the salt, and toss to coat.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender but not mushy. Once they are done, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon if you have any left. Allow to cool while you make the tahini sauce (see notes below for make-ahead instructions).

In a small bowl add the tahini, miso, lemon juice and water. Use whisk or fork to mix it all together until smooth, trying to get rid of any miso paste lumps. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little bit more water (thickness will vary based on the tahini).

Transfer the carrots to a serving plate and drizzle generously with the tahini miso sauce. Garnish with hazelnuts, cilantro, and pomegranate seeds.

Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Roasted Carrots and Fennel with Miso Tahini Sauce

  1. Try not to overcrowd your baking sheet., this can cause the vegetables to steam and get overcooked rather than caramelized. If this happens to me, I stick it under the broiler for a couple of minutes before it gets too mushy.

  2. To make ahead, roast the veggies and let them cool completely. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Let them come to room temperature before plating and serving. The tahini sauce can be made ahead, just keep in mind it might thicken as it sits in the fridge so you may need to add a splash of water to thin it out a bit.

  3. DON’T SKIMP ON THE GARNISHES! The toasted hazelnut, pomegranate seed and cilantro combo makes the dish!

  4. If your tahini is super thick, you will need a lot more water and probably more lemon juice. Just taste and add accordingly!

  5. If you want a smoother sauce (miso paste clumps can be hard to work out), make the sauce in a blender!

  6. Rainbow carrots definitely makes it more colorful, but using regular carrots will work too.

In need of a healthy Thanksgiving dessert? Try my German Apple Tart or Pumpkin Molasses Cookies