My first memories of flavorful food date back to my childhood in Morocco. It was date and almond everything and yes, plenty of tagines. Fast-forward twenty years and I’m still incorporating these sweet-spicy concoctions into my weekly meal plan. A particular match made in heaven, though? The autumn holiday cuisine that we all know and love, of course!
This side dish is a perfect accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner, or any other warming, “gather-round” kind of roast that you plan on enjoying with your loved ones this season. It’s sweet, sticky and intensely flavorful. If you are bored of sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows (is that possible?) and want to sub in an alternative to contrast some of your other savory sides, this is the one to go for.
I used heritage carrots purchased in my local farm shop because I love the diversity of tones that rather nicely reflect the changing leaves on the trees at this time of the year, but you can use any carrots you have available; it’ll taste exactly the same!
For a fuss-free, impressive feast for all the senses, this is one not to miss!
Sweet & Spicy Moroccan Carrots
- One Bunch (about 5-6 carrots) Carrots
- 1/2 Red Onion (chopped)
- 6-8 Medjool Dates (chopped)
- 2 Heaped Tablespoons Maple Syrup or Honey
- 1-2 Tablespoons Ras-el-hanout
- 1/4 Cup Toasted Flaked Almonds
1. Begin by preparing a large pot with boiling water, then chop the ends off your carrots, peel and slice on a slant.
2. Blanch the carrots by adding to the boiling water and cooking until just tender when a fork is inserted (about 10 minutes). Then, transfer immediately to ice cold water to stop them from cooking further and getting too soft.
3. While the carrots are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large sauté pan and fry the onion on a low-medium heat for about 10 minutes. You want the onion to soften and sweeten, but not brown.
4. Add the maple syrup or honey and mix well for 1 minute. Add in the Ras-el-hanout, followed by the carrots, dates and almonds and mix well to incorporate. Heat everything through for 3-4 minutes then serve.
5. Enjoy immediately, or keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
NOTE: In case you too opt for carrots by the bunch, don’t throw the tops away! They are great sautéed, added into pesto, stews or green smoothies!
Photo: Kat Kennedy