Roasted Carrots and Beets with Tahini-Miso Dip

“January’s okay. I like it in fact. It’s the proper winter month.”

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

O Winter! Ruler of the inverted year, I crown thee kind of intimate delights, fireside enjoyments, home-born happiness, and all the comforts that the lovely roof of undisturbed retirement, and the hours of long uninterrupted evening, know.”

William Cowper

January is a month for comforts. It’s a month for things that require the oven to be on for hours, for wool blankets and thick socks, for good books.   It’s a month, let’s face it, when things can grow a little dreary, a little desolate –  what with the bitter cold days stretching endlessly ahead and the cheer of holidays behind.

But January can be a lovely month if we can just remember all the things there are to look forward to in its dark nights and cold blustery days. There are mittens and warm coats to bundle in; starlit walks to be taken with smokey breath and the moonlight reflecting off the snow.  There is the sour-sweet bite of grapefruits and blood oranges and Meyer lemons to be tasted. There are stews to simmer, and trays of root vegetables and squash to be roasted; pots of chai to simmer on the stove. There are loaves of dark bread to be risen and cups of coffee, black as tar, to be drunk in the dark hours before sunrise. There is so much to look forward to, in fact, that I find myself (almost) wishing that January were just a tad bit longer, so that I might fit every thing in.

One of my biggest comforts this month, is the ritual of roasting vegetables. It’s a labor of love – the tenaciousness of thick-skinned squash and knobbly roots begs one to pay attention. Then the methodic chop-chop-chop, putting one into a most thoughtful trance where the most wonderful of thoughts might arise. There are beet stained fingers smeared with salt and olive oil to lick, and then there is the hum of a hot oven, the sensation of warmth, the smell of caramelizing sugar melding with the perfume of fresh herbs and warm spices. I like to roast my vegetables in big wedges coated liberally with fat flakes of salt, and then sit at the table with friends and dip them into something deeply savory while we chat about life.

A day like this is the best kind of day, the kind that makes January’s chill just a tiny bit easier to bear.

Roasted Carrots and Beets with Tahini-Miso Dip

Serves 4.

  • 3-4 medium sized carrots (or 6 smaller ones), chopped lengthwise into fat wedges
  • 2 large or 3 medium sized beets, skins on, chopped into wedges about 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • Salt, pepper and ground cumin seed

For the Tahini-Miso Dip

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons barley (or another dark) miso
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 tablespoons of fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup water

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Place your carrots in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil, a teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of cumin and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Toss until well coated, and then place on a parchment lined baking tray. Repeat for the beets (you want to do them separately otherwise the beets will bleed and turn your carrots red – if you don’t mind this, though, you could do them together).

Place the trays in the oven, and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the roots are tender and beginning to blacken in spots.

While your vegetables are roasting, make your dip. Place all the ingredients, except for the water, into a food processor or blender and blend.  While the machine is running, slowly trickle in your water while keeping an eye on the consistency. When the dip is the consistency you like (I shoot for hummus consistency, but you might like yours a little thinner), then turn of the machine.

Serve your roasted roots right out of the oven along with the dip, a few people you like to share them with, and a glass of dark toasty stout to wash them down with.

Comments

  1. i love to roast vegetables in the winter and now i can’t wait to try your dip!
    beautiful writing as always, danielle.

  2. You almost had me there for a moment right in the palm of your hand…
    I was almost wishing I was back in the snow drifts once more roasting veggies in the oven…sigh!
    Its all in the enjoyment of ‘seeing’ each season through the beauty of your heart: enjoying the moment before it passes isn’t it? You certainly are an enlightened soul with the gift of sharing ….and I thank you for that.

    • Danielle Charles says:

      And then you looked out and saw the beautiful Florida sun and came to your senses immediately 🙂 I can’t agree with you more – enjoying the moment before it passes – being present, that is the secret to a contented life. Thank you for yet another lavish complement that I am humbled by – its things like this that give me the courage to keep writing, so thank you for that! 🙂

      XOXO
      D

  3. So many beautiful reminders. Today I will roast.

  4. Hi Danielle,

    Could not agree more. I had roasted vegetables this evening, so satisfying. Beetroot is one of my absolute favourites, I love that earth taste that is offers.
    I have not tried that particular dip before, so will give it a go.

    It is not cold here…in fact, it is much too mild for January. Bit scary really…..my Spring bulbs are up eeeeek!!!

    • Danielle Charles says:

      Beet is one of my favorites, yet I find it has such a bad reputation with most people! My hunch is that most people are traumatized at some early date by canned beets, and then they never give it another chance. But roasted until they are crispy and sweet like this, I’ve never failed at converting a beet hater yet.

      Winter is strange here too – one day bitterly cold, and the next like a spring day with drizzle and fog. It can’t seem to make up its mind!

      XOXO
      D

  5. Ummmm delicious! I love tahini and miso together and I have a bag of parsnips and some beetroots in the fridge that I was wondering what to do with. i shall wonder no more, thank you for another beautiful post full of inspiration and goodness.
    xxxxx

    • Danielle Charles says:

      Mmmm, parsnips would be another perfect addition to this recipe! I’m glad I could provide a solution for what to do with them 🙂 You are most welcome and thank you for another beautiful and encouraging comment 🙂

      D

  6. comfreycottages says:

    You have me hungry for roasted veggies for breakfast, Danielle:) Mmmm tahini and miso would be perfect with them. Thank you for the idea dear! xoxox

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