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Roasted Carrots and Dates with Pistachio Pesto

Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time55 mins
Servings: 8 as a side
Calories: 291kcal
Author: Nisha Vora

Ingredients

Carrots and Dates

  • 2 pounds (900g) carrots, peeled
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced into 1-inch wedges
  • 3 tablespoons Simply Nature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup (112g) Southern Grove Chopped Dates or Southern Grove Pitted Dates*
  • 1 small handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped (optional garnish)

Pistachio Pesto

  • 1/3 cup (40-45g) Southern Grove Pistachios (unsalted or salted)**
  • 2 cups (25-30g) parsley leaves and tender stems
  • 3 small garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 medium lemon, zested and then juiced
  • A pinch of salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) Simply Nature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons water, plus more as needed

Seed Sprinkle

  • 1 tablespoon Simply Nature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup (68g) Southern Grove Pepitas***
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Once preheated, add two rimmed sheet pans to the oven to heat up for 5 minutes.
  • Prep the carrots. If the carrots are medium-width, bisect lengthwise; if they're fat, cut lengthwise into quarters; if skinny, leave whole. Cut all the carrots into 2-inch pieces on a sharp diagonal. Toss the carrots and onion wedges in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer the carrots and onions to the heated sheet pans and spread out. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes (20 minutes if carrots are skinny), tossing halfway through.
  • Add the chopped dates to the pan(s) and roast for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and slightly caramelized and onions are soft and browned.
  • Make the pistachio pesto. Add the pistachios to a food processor and blitz until they're in small pieces. Add the parsley, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper to taste. Blend until a paste forms, scraping down the sides as you go along. With the motor running, stream in the extra virgin olive oil to start to form a sauce. Scrape down the sides again, and stream in more oil as needed until you have a smooth yet thick texture. If the pesto is still not smooth enough but you don't want to add more oil, add a spoon of water at a time until the sauce comes together into a creamy, spoonable consistency. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt, lemon, or garlic as needed.
  • Make the seed sprinkle. Heat a small or medium frying pan over medium heat. After a minute or two, add the olive oil and pepitas, red pepper flakes, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and a pinch of salt. Stir almost continuously until golden and seeds are popping, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and spread out with a spoon, ensuring that the spices evenly coat the pepitas. Allow to cool.
  • Assemble the dish. Spoon some of the pesto on a platter. Add the roasted carrots, onions, and dates on top. Scatter some seed sprinkle on top and garnish with chopped parsley.

Notes

* If using the whole dates, measure out ¾ cup and chop the dates into small pieces.
** If using salted pistachios, the pesto needs just a pinch of salt. If using unsalted, it needs several pinches, about ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. I typically buy unshelled pistachios, but you can also buy shelled pistachios at ALDI to shave off a couple minutes!
*** If your pepitas are unsalted, add more than a pinch of salt, about ½ teaspoon.