Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easy and Amazing Recipe for Barely-Cooked Carrots with Tahini, Lemon, Garlic, and Sumac Dressing

Barely-cooked carrots with tahini, lemon, garlic, and sumac.
Slightly-crisp carrots with a dressing of tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and sumac.  Mind-blowingly good!

Allow me to introduce my new favorite way to eat carrots.  And if you even barely entertained the thought that cooked carrots might be a little boring, dismiss that idea immediately!  The entire time my cooking assistant and nephew Jake and I were tasting this recipe we kept remarking on how neither of us was that crazy about cooked carrots, but these barely cooked carrots with a dressing of tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, a generous amount of minced garlic, and Sumac were positively addictive.  We ate most of them warm, but I had a a few bites left that were refrigerated overnight, and they tasted fantastic cold out of the fridge as well.

The idea for Carrots with Tahini Dressing came from Sam Morgannam at Food and Wine, but we bumped up the flavor of the dressing by using a lot more garlic and adding a generous amount of the middle eastern spice called Sumac that I'm so fond of.   The tartness of the sumac added extra depth to the flavor here, and sprinkling a little sumac over the finished dish added nice color as well.  Can you make this if you don't have Sumac?  Of course you can, but I love Sumac so much that I hope this may be the dish that finally gets you to try it.  (Someone on the Kalyn's Kitchen Facebook Page asked about using Za'atar in this dish, which I think would also be great!  There are ten more recipe ideas for Sumac at the end of the post, just to show you how versatile it is!)

We used whole organic carrots, peeled and cut into diagonal slices.

The carrots are steamed for exactly six minutes, not a second longer!  Let them drain and cool slightly in a colander.

While the carrots are steaming whisk together the Tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, and Sumac to make the dressing.

Chop up a few tablespoons of flat Italian parsley as well.

When the carrots have cooled slightly, combine them with the tahini dressing and parsley and season with a tiny bit of sea salt.  Sprinkle extra Sumac over the top if you'd like and serve immediately.

Easy and Amazing Barely-Cooked Carrots with Tahini, Lemon, Garlic, and Sumac Dressing
(Makes 5-6 servings; recipe adapted from Carrots with Tahini Dressing from Food and Wine.)

1 1/2 lbs. whole organic carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal in 1/2 inch slices
2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 T Tahini
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T water
1-2 T finely minced fresh garlic (start with 1 T and taste to see if you'd like more garlic)
2 tsp. Sumac, plus more for sprinkling on finished dish
sea salt to taste (Could also use Za'atar if you don't have plain Sumac)
2-3 T chopped Italian parsley

Start heating the water in a stovetop steamer or electric steamer while you prep the carrots.  Peel carrots, trim the ends, and cut into diagonal slices about 1/2 inch thick.  When water is boiling, steam the carrots exactly 6 minutes and then drain into colander placed in the sink.  (Use a timer; part of what makes this so good is that the carrots are still slightly crisp.)

While carrots are steaming, whisk together the lemon juice, tahini, olive oil and water and then stir in the minced garlic and Sumac to make the dressing.  (Start with 1 tablespoon of minced garlic and taste to see you want more.)  

When the carrots have cooled a little put them in a bowl and toss with the tahini dressing.  Season to taste with a tiny bit of sea salt and stir in the chopped parsley.  Sprinkle the dish with a little more Sumac if desired and serve immediately.

These carrots were amazingly good warm, but I thought they also tasted great cold when they'd been in the fridge overnight.

South Beach Suggestions: 
Because they contain a large amount of natural sugar, carrots are limited to phase 2 or 3 for the South Beach Diet. These carrots would make a great side dish for something like Kubideh (Grilled Ground Meat with Mediterranean Spices) or Greek Meatballs.

Ten More Recipes to Entice You to Try Sumac:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Garbanzo Bean Soup with Garlic, Sumac, Olive Oil, and Lemon from Kalyn's Kitchen
Fattoush (Lebanese "Crumbled Bread" Salad with Sumac and Pita Chips) from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cauliflower "Rice" with Fried Onions and Sumac from Kalyn's Kitchen
Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Feta and Sumac from Kalyn's Kitchen
Eggs Fried in Olive Oil with Wilted Greens and Sumac from Kalyn's Kitchen
Lemon Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin and Sumac from Everybody Likes Sandwiches
Ottolenghi's Fried Beans with Sorrel, Feta, and Sumac from David Lebovitz
Bulgur Salad with Sumac Shrimp from For the Love of Food
Sumac Flavored Roasted Potatoes from Chico's Kitchen
Fried Eggplant with Sumac and Garlic Yogurt Dip from 80 Breakfasts
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) counter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


  1. I thought it said barley. Now I know what you really said, this looks good!

  2. I love sumac and this looks like a great use for it!

  3. This looks delicious. I made carrot and tahini soup yesterday for the first time and it is a combination that goes really well together.

  4. Kalyn, these look and sound fantastic! I'm always looking for new ways to use carrots. :-) I'm so glad you did the "cold out of the fridge for breakfast" test, too. ;-) That's often my favorite way to eat meat and veggies dishes!


  5. I'm one of those people who love raw carrots, but not cooked carrots, so the idea of "barely cooked" really appeals to me. And I adore sumac, which is always on my spice rack. Great combination of flavors (and the color? oh, boy!), and I can't wait to try this.

  6. I'm so glad people are recognizing why Jake and I went crazy over this recipe. I promise, these are the worlds best cooked carrots! Thanks everyone.

  7. This looks wonderful and I think it may even get my kids eating carrots, as they will eat just about anything with tahini on it! I love sumac too, and am always looking out for new uses for it. Thanks!

  8. Slightly-crisp carrots with a dressing of tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and sumac. i made it yesterday for my family and they loved it so much. thank you for giving me this recipes.

  9. Tahini-based dressings are by far my favorites and you could use it to get me to eat just about any veggie! Not that I ever really need much goading...

  10. So glad people are liking this! Ruby, looking forward to discovering more Sumac ideas from your blog.

  11. I love this recipe! Carrots are always a challenge for me, they can turn sweet so quickly. Your dressing and choice of spices will solve that for me.

  12. Sandy, so glad you like it. We could not stop eating these!

  13. I'm new via Elise but I've bookmarked you. I use sumac and za'atar and recently a Turkish seasoning from Penzey. Never in carrots but this sounds like such a natural that I can't wait to try it. I'm looking forward to digging into your site. Kathleen

  14. Thanks Kathleen! (I adore Elise and love her blog!)

  15. I made this dish Saturday and it was a big hit. Although I did not have sumac on hand, apparently it has disappeared from my spice rack. So I have to repeat the dish soon :) Nevertheless, the carrots were delicious.
    And what a wonderful website you have. Scrumptious :)

  16. Kairi, so glad you enjoyed it. (And I love the spelling of your name!)

  17. I too am one that like raw carrots but not very fond of cooked ones. This recipes sounds very appealing with the carrots being left crunchy. I'll have to give it a try very soon.


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