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Thanksgiving has so many traditions and, for me, most of these are food memories. Growing up, it never seemed like Thanksgiving unless we went to Grandma Alice’s house and partook in the same meal each and every year. It was exactly what you’d expect, consisting of turkey, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, dinner rolls, and pie. And it was terrific! Even if one component was different, the holiday also seemed… different.
I’ve always loved traditions, probably because, like so many, they’re so ingrained in me. As an adult, celebrating with the family has become the tradition, but the food choices have changed. Our meal still consists of those aforementioned staples, but with updates.
Thanksgiving can often become overly heavy: too many carbs, too much brown color, and nothing exciting. Thankfully, in my world, vegetable side dishes don’t need to be breaded and sauced with cheese to fit in. Instead, I like to actually taste each vegetable’s flavor and hear their crunch.
Why roast vegetables?
Roasting vegetables is hands-down the quickest way to prepare a side dish for large meals. Two important components are needed:
- high heat
- salt and spices
Roasting provides browning to the outside of the vegetable and just cooks the interior, without overcooking it. And as a bonus, I love to roast vegetables because they’re delicious served straight from the oven or at room temperature.
These roasted carrots are influenced by so many flavors that inspire me. I find it so easy to revert to safety with spices that I know and use all the time. Especially at Thanksgiving, the meal can be so much more enjoyable when we look around the world, look outside our safe box, and see what spices can be paired together.
In American dishes, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon aren’t often used together. Cumin is often relegated to chili or salsa, but when it’s mixed with other spices, the combination is like a flavor explosion. These spices all pack intense flavor that is perfectly paired with the sweet, crisp nature of carrots.
And to make them holiday-ready, they’re garnished with chopped dates and pistachios. It’s a sweet, crunchy topping that makes these extra special.
Watch how to make these roasted carrots:
Roasted Carrots with Dates and Pistachios
- 2 ½ lbs carrots cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp coriander
- ½ tsp cumin
- ¾ tsp garlic granules
- 12 dates pitted and roughly chopped
- ½ cup roasted pistachios chopped
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Place cleaned and chopped carrots on a large sheet pan. Spread out in an even layer. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and garlic granules. Mix together, coating all the carrots, and spread out, making sure the carrots do not overlap.
- Roast in the preheated oven until the carrots brown on the exterior and are just tender in the center, 20-25 minutes.
- While the carrots are roasting, chop up the dates and pistachios.
- Remove the carrots from the oven and place on a serving dish. Top with prepared dates and pistachios. Serve hot from the oven or at room temperature.