Roasted Carrots with Pesto Butter and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds / by Chelsea Zwieg

When I'm listing things that I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving, am I allowed to include Thanksgiving Day on the list? Or does that throw my thankful list into some sort of disjointed thankfulness other world. Because really, I love Thanksgiving. I love the whole tradition of the thing. Eating breakfast while watching the parade, cooking all day, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce. It's stuff you can count on every year.

But one thing I have noticed, at least in my family, is that there is no tradition surrounding the vegetables on Thanksgiving. The potatoes are mashed, the turkey is grilled, the pie is pumpkin but the vegetables never really stick. So my goal this year is to make a vegetable that demands a comeback next year. A vegetable dish you can tack on to your thankful list. 

And believe me, these carrots will make the list. They're coated with spices and oven roasted until they are perfectly tender. Towards the end of roasting they get brushed with a pesto butter so they come out of the oven bubbling and in a cloud of basil and butter that will hit you as soon as you open the oven. Then they are topped with crunchy, spicy pumpkin seeds to finish it off. 

So to my thankful list, add carrots right under Thanksgiving Day. In fact, I think I'll call them comeback carrots. I know they'll be back. 

Roasted Carrots with Pesto Butter and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Serves 4

| Ingredients

  • 1 lb. carrots
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. coriander 
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne 
  • 3 tbsp. butter, softened 
  • 3 tbsp. pesto 
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, cleaned and dried

| Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300. Line 2 baking pans with foil and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, stir pumpkin seeds with 1 tsp. olive oil. Use your hands to massage the oil into the seeds, making sure they are evenly coated. Spread in an even layer onto one of the prepared baking sheets. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. 
  • Remove seeds from oven and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. coriander, 1/2 tsp. paprika and cayenne. Toss to coat. Return seeds to the oven and roast and additional 10 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, wash and peel carrots. Arrange in a single layer on the second prepared baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Toss to make sure they are evenly coated. Sprinkle carrots with remaining coriander, paprika and celery seed. 
  • In a small bowl, mash butter and pesto with a fork until no large chunks of butter remain. 
  • Increase oven heat to 400. Roast carrots for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, brush carrots with pesto butter (not all of it, just enough to coat them. About 1 tbsp.), return to oven and roast an additional 10 minutes. At this point, they should be done, depending on the size of your carrots. I recommend cutting into one with a knife to check. If they are larger, they may need a little longer. 
  • Transfer carrots to a serving platter, drizzle with remaining pesto butter and top with pumpkin seeds.