Roasted carrot spread

carrot_spread.jpg

I do love carrots. They are full of nutrients and fiber, inexpensive, available year around, and durable. And their bright orange color (or other colors, if you delve into the exotic varieties) add instant cheer to any dish or bento box. So when I saw that my favorite vegan author Yumiko Kano was coming out with a new book of just carrot recipes, I reserved it in advance without a second thought.

This is a recipe adapted from that book. It’s a soft, light carrot spread or paste that is sweet, salty and a bit spicy. It has tahini (sesame seed paste) in it, which adds richness as well as protein. The spiciness comes from cumin and red chili pepper powder, and the sweetness comes from the carrot itself, which is roasted to intensify the flavor, and a tad of raw cane sugar. It is great as a spread on crackers or rice cakes or toast, or as a dip. The soft texture means it can’t quite substitute for peanut butter in a pb and j sandwich, but it’s fantastic in a wrap sandwich. It is of course totally gluten-free and nut-free too, so if your child’s school has a “no-nut” policy, which seems to be increasingly common these days, this is great.

Roasted carrot spread

Makes about 1 1/2 cups. (Calories for the entire amount: approx: 320. Per tablespoon: 13 calories.)

  • 2 large carrots, weight approx. 340 g / 12 oz. in total
  • 2 Tbs. tahini (sesame paste), well stirred
  • 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste, plus a little for sprinkling
  • 1 Tbs. raw cane or light brown sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Pinch red chili pepper powder, or to taste

Heat up the oven to 180°C / 360°F. Wash two carrots, cut them up roughly, sprinkle with a little salt, and wrap them loosely in kitchen parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, until soft. Open the paper up for the last few minutes to evaporate any accumulated moisture.

Let cool a bit, and put the pieces in the bowl of a food processor with the other ingredients. Process until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

This will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, well covered. You can also freeze it in small packets of plastic film.

(The original recipe added some soy sauce, pepper, and lemon juice, and had no sugar. I added sugar to make it a bit sweeter, but you can reduce or omit it. I felt the soy sauce and lemon juice distracted from the roast-carroty taste so left them out.)

For a bento or lunch box, if you’re not using it in a wrap, pack it into a small container with a spoon, with bread, crackers, pitas etc. separate. The eater can spread the paste on to the bread etc. at lunchtime.

Some more bento-ready carrot recipes

The all-carrot vegan cookbook

The book in question is called Yasai marugoto cookbook - ninjin ryouri (Whole vegetable cookbook: Carrot cuisine). It’s the first in a series - I also have the second volume, dedicated to the cabbage - it’s also terrific. Two further volumes about greens and daikon radish were just recently published.

Note that Yumiko Kano’s books are vegan (using no dairy products, meat or fish, or eggs), but most recipes are not gluten or nut-free (she uses nuts quite a lot actually, and flour in most of her baking recipes.) And just in case, they are all in Japanese only I’m afraid.

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

13 comments

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Sounds awesome!

Whole cookbooks organized by main ingredient…I LOVE this idea!! Why, oh why can’t I read any japanese? I’ve heard that reading a Japanese newspaper requires knowing roughly 3,000 kanji- but if Yumiko Kano comes out with a pumpkin edition, I’m going to have some serious cramming ahead of me. Thank you so much for this, Maki!

wicked

This sounds wonderful! I am getting a jar of tahini next time I hit the market so i can try this. (I’ll second Laurie - man, i wish i could read Japanese )

Carrot spread seems good.

Carrot spread seems good. I’ll have a try! Do you know any recipe to do wraps, the few I tried were disappointing. Yes, most of the time I cook everything even my everyday bread. It’s my way to avoid the temptation: if I didn’t make any cake there’ll be none in my cupboard, and as I don’t cook crisps…But, I’m afraid I’ll have to try a recipe for marshmallow I miss them!

Emily, I don’t have a

Emily, I don’t have a recipe per se at the moment, but in the US I do like the various whole wheat and/or flavored wraps they have at Whole Foods (the brand name I cannot remember). Here do make whole wheat tortillas or just buy regular white flour ones… I like to overstuff them with lots of lettuce, radish sprouts, etc plus hummus or creamy cheese etc. Marinated roast peppers are great too.

Wow! I kind of want the

Wow! I kind of want the greens book. Hopefully, Kinokuniya will have a copy for me to peruse so I can assess whether the recipes are over my reading level or not.

I might have to pick up some tahini and give this a try since I have a big bag of carrots in my fridge that needs used up. (They were out of single carrots at the grocery store, so I had to buy in bulk!)

Roasted Pounded Carrot Spread

I got a granite mortar & pestle for Christmas and have been using it for nearly everything that I’d use a food processor for; it’s such a satisfying way to make spreads, pastes, etc. I think I’ll try my hand at making my own tahini that way and prepare this whole recipe in the mortar & pestle. Thanks for another inspiration!

Tried it, loved it!

I didn’t have raw cane sugar (what is that anyway?) so I just used a little honey, about a teasp I’d say. It was really good! Thanks for yet another hit Maki!

@Laurie I wish I could read Japanese too! AT least we have Maki ^_^

Anyone know the calories

Anyone know the calories content of this at all…pretty please? :P :-)

For the entire amount it’s

For the entire amount it’s about 320 calories, which comes out to about 13 cal per Tbs. (I’ve added that to the article also!)

thank you! :-)

thank you! :-)

Re: Roasted carrot spread

I think I got brainwashed by you into eating carrots again, Maki-san! I used to hate them so much, but i've started eating them again thanks to you..

I'd like to try this recipe, but I don't have tahini on hand. May I just omit it?

Re: Roasted carrot spread

Try adding some sesame seeds and lemon juice, maybe?

Re: Roasted carrot spread

Try peanut butter. As a poor college student that's what I've had to do. You can omit it if you feel necessary, but the nut butters add the "meatiness" or "earthiness" of the dip. That's what makes it filling (at least for me!). :)

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