CARROTS ARE A NUTRITIONAL POWERHOUSE
Carrots are not only tasty — they’re really good for you. Carrots are loaded with beta carotene, which helps maintain healthy eyesight. They also contain fiber, natural sugars, folic acid, potassium, calcium and magnesium. With all these nutrients, you should munch on carrots whenever you get the chance.
In raw form, carrots are crunchy and slightly sweet. Eat them alone or with a dip; serve them as an appetizer or a snack. You can even grate them and add them to salads, sandwiches, cakes or cookies. If these combinations aren’t enough for you, don’t worry: With so many ways to cook them, you’ll never run out of new things to try. Here are a just a few ways to enjoy them:
Mashed carrots make an excellent side dish and are great for a casual dinner or for a holiday feast. Aside from that, they’re super easy to make. Simply peel and cut the carrots, then add them to boiling water (or start with baby carrots, which don’t need to be peeled or cut). Cook them until they’re soft and can be stabbed easily with a fork. Drain, then mash them and add a bit of margarine. If you want them sweeter, add brown sugar to taste. This step pretty much blows the waist-friendly benefit of the dish, but the taste is delicious.
Braised carrots are quick and easy to make and work as a delicious and colorful side dish. The orange juice gives them an unexpected but pleasing tang. Chop the carrots into bite-sized pieces, then add them to a hot pan with some margarine. Cover the carrots until the liquid begins to bubble, then uncover. Once the margarine starts to brown, pour just enough orange juice over the carrots to cover them. Let them simmer until all of the liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle the carrots with thyme (you can omit this step if thyme isn’t your thing) and serve while they’re still hot.
Roasted carrots are a quick and easy complement to a fall meal. When cooked correctly, they’re crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Simply cut carrots in half lengthwise, then into strips between one and two inches long. Place the carrots on a baking sheet and toss them in just enough olive oil to lightly coat them. Spread the carrots out so they’re not touching, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Roast them at 350 F for about 30 minutes, or until they start to brown.
Lisa Lewis, author of Healthy Happy Cooking, available in the First Place 4 Health online store.