Mediterranean Roasted Carrots + Farro + Herb Yogurt Sauce

 
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Carrots are definitely having a moment in the culinary world. Last May, when we went to National Restaurant Association Show, carrots were predicted to be “the next kale.” Everything from carrot hotdogs, to tacos and noodle bowls seem to be getting a carrot makeover. They certainly are becoming the star of the plate - and we are definitely on board with that.

Besides being a mega nutrient booster (especially from the phytochemicals that provide their beautiful hues), we love carrots for their versatility and heartiness. They are easy to keep in the fridge to add color, crunch and even a little sweetness to so many different types of meals and cuisines from around the world.

We were inspired to craft this recipe for a heart healthy cooking demonstration with the employees at Cal State San Marcos. It has all the components for a drool worthy healthy meal. Here’s what else we included in this Mediterranean-inspired recipe:

Farro: an ancient whole grain in the wheat family provides a good amount fiber, protein, niacin, magnesium and zinc.

Frozen Spinach: adds an extra boost of antioxidants, beta carotene and Vitamin C.  Frozen spinach has been flash frozen shortly after being harvested, so it retains the nutrients until it is ready to be used. We suggest keeping a bag of frozen spinach in the freezer.

Red onion: these caramelize nicely when roasted and added great texture and flavor to the dish. A pantry must-have that brings a punch of flavor and antioxidants to your meal.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: a staple of the Mediterranean Diet, olive oil is our go-to cooking oil for its unsaturated fat content and phytochemicals. We used it throughout the recipe for roasting and sautéing and even added a dash to the yogurt sauce.

Dried Thyme + Oregano: the flavor enhancers with their own unique antioxidants, these dried herbs are also our go-to Mediterranean staples since they work with so many different ingredients.

Greek Yogurt: the easiest way to make a protein-rich creamy, tart sauce is by using Greek Yogurt. We blended ours with herbs, fresh garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Slivered Almonds: a little bit goes a long way in this recipe to top off the plate to add a little extra crunch. Yet another pantry favorite, almonds are a great source of vitamin E, monounsaturated fat, fiber and protein.

This all-in-one healthy vegetarian meal is very filling as is - but feel free to try it with some roasted chicken or wild salmon.


Mediterranean Roasted Carrots + Farro + Herb Yogurt Sauce

Colorful carrots star in this easy Mediterranean recipe full of immune boosting nutrients, protein and fiber.

Makes: 4 Servings

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Cook time:

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound colorful carrots
  • 1 medium red onion, ¼” slices
  • ¼ cups dry 10-minute farro
  • 2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 ¼ tsp dried thyme, divided
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp sea salt, divided
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds (1 Tbsp per serving)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)

Yogurt Sauce:
  • ⅔ cup (1 small 5.3 oz container) low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice (about 1 small fresh lemon wedge)
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • Dash black pepper

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place carrots and red onion on baking sheet and toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp dried thyme, and ¼ tsp sea salt. Roast on center rack of oven for 20-30 min (until carrots are soft). Stirring/turning half way through.
  3. When carrots and onions are roasting, cook farro according to simmer directions. In a medium pot, bring 2.5 cups stock and 1.25 cups farro to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 min. Drain excess liquid.
  4. Add frozen spinach to farro and season with ¼ tsp each of dried thyme, oregano, and sea salt (add pepper to taste). Add ½ Tbsp olive oil and sauté until spinach is cooked. Remove from heat and cover until ready to use.
  5. Prepare Yogurt Sauce by combining all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blending until smooth.
  6. Divide farro/mix among plates, add carrots and onions and top with yogurt sauce, almonds, and crushed red pepper flakes.

NUTRITION PROFILE

410 calories, 14 g total fat, 2 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 690 mg sodium, 58 g carbohydrates, 11 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 17 g protein