Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Sesame Sauce

Sesame Carrots and Parsnips

It didn’t help my holiday habits when I ordered a stollen online.

Last year, somebody’s gift guide mentioned that Quitokeeto, 101Cookbook’s shop, would send out stollen from Big Sur Bakery. By the time I read this and navigated over, I was too late to order. The stollen had sold out. So, all the way back in late 2014, I did what any hungry sweet tooth would. I put my name on a list to be notified when the stollen returned.

Tahini | Big Girls Small KitchenI forgot all about stollen until November 19, 2015, when I opened an email with news. The sweet, dried fruit and marzipan-filled bread was back. Before Thanksgiving had even arrived, I had bought myself a loaf of bread from California. To understand this odd move, you should know that stollen is one of my top fifteen foods, ever since I had my first slice a decade ago in Strasbourg, France, at the Christmas market. Bakeries in New York City sell stollen too, and I could have sought one out  here.Sesame Carrots and Parsnips

Plus, the sweets were piling up. There was extra pecan pie from Thanksgiving, then green tea Kit Kat bars that friends brought back from Tokyo. There were heart cookies from an engagement party we threw and baklava from a Sunday dinner. There were chocolate mint thumbprints.

Hosting a buffet of sweets in my own kitchen is not my usual approach to the holidays.

I tend to figure that if we keep things vegetable and grain-focused at home, we can indulge in rich cuts of meat and gooey desserts at all the parties without feeling bogged down in between. So, with just 8 days left til Christmas and 15 remaining in this year, I’m back on the veggies, and I wanted to share this simple recipe in case you’re looking for a break from all the party food.Sesame Carrots and Parsnips

In other words, this is more of a January recipes. Two root vegetables, parsnips and carrots, roast in the oven. When they emerge, just shy of crisp, you dress them in a sesame sauce that’s got the flavors of Japan but is made with a Middle Eastern ingredient, tahini, instead of sesame seeds. Shreds of toasted nori and crunchy sesame seeds finish the dish, making it satisfying and protein-heavy enough to eat with a bowl of white or brown rice. Satisfying enough to tide you over until the next treat.

Sesame Carrots and Parsnips

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Sesame Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
You can vary the ratio of parsnips to carrots depending on what you have and what you like. If you make this in advance, the sauce will thicken on the veggies--still delicious, just different!
For the vegetables:
  • 2½ cups parsnips, peeled and trimmed and cut into sticks (5 to 6 large parsnips)
  • 2½ cups carrots, peeled and trimmed and cut into sticks (5 to 6 large carrots)
  • 2 tablespoons safflower or olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons peanut butter
To serve:
  • ½ sheet nori
  • about 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Roast the veggies:
  1. Place the carrots and parsnips on a baking sheet. Toss with the safflower oil and salt. Roast for about 25 minutes, until the veggies are just turning golden but aren't yet crisp. Set aside.
Toast the nori:
  1. While the oven's on, place the sheet of nori right on a rack. Toast for about 1 minute, watching carefully. You want it to darken slightly and turn brittle but not burn.
Make the sauce:
  1. In a small food processor, combine all the ingredients for the sauce. Pulse to blend, adding up to a tablespoon of water to help the ingredients come together.
Finish the dish:
  1. Scrape the roasted veggies into a large bowl. Toss with most of the sauce, reserving some to put on top. Cut the nori into thin shards. Garnish each serving with some sesame seeds, nori, and extra sauce.


Posted in: Packed Lunch
  • Millie | Add A Little

    This looks AMAZING Cara! I adore roasted vegetables and the dressing swoooon!!!

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