Nutritionist Lucy Hyland

Cooking with Carrots

October 2, 2023
Posted by Lucy

Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step towards healthy eating...

This is the first of the Food for Living weekly newsletters. If you're not part of our mailing list, then simply subscribe on the home page. Each week, the newsletter will contain some handy health tips, some tasty recipes and the motivation you need to keep going. I’m not going to overwhelm you with huge amounts of information and choices. Each week I’ll concentrate on one food, giving you time to absorb and get familiar with the ingredients.

Each week I'll pick ingredients that are seasonal or readily available so that they should be a cost effective and accessible item.

If you make a promise to yourself to try to make at least one of the recipes included in the newsletter, that will be one health inspired meal you’ll be having each week. When you get comfortable with one, try another, and then try incorporating a few of the health tips. Right, time to getting reading and cooking....

This week's Star Ingredient: The Carrot

When Sharon, my web designer, and I were designing the site, we kept on coming up with factious recipes and ingredients so that we could play around with the site – and it always seemed to involve carrots! So the first week’s star ingredients is going to be the carrot and all its glory!! Thanks so much for all your help Sharon.

Healthy Eating Facts and Health Tips

Carrots are good for healthy eating and are a good source of:

Vitamin A (carotene) which means them great for your vision, boosting your immunity and your growth as well as being a powerful antioxidant,

Vitamin K which is essential for effective blood clotting and bone development,

And is a good source of dietary fibre.

Carrots are one of those vegetables that I would recommend you buy organic. Other handy information:

When buying, look for carrots that are firm and bright in colour. If they have particularly dark colouration at the top, they are passed their best.

The best way of storing carrots is to wrap in a plastic bag, expel the air, and store in the fridge.

If you are going to eat them raw, grating is best to help with digestibility.

Carrots actually increase their antioxidant value when cooked!!! The best way of cooking carrots is to steam them, for about 5 minutes, so that they are softening on the outside but still crunchy on the inside. Wash thoroughly before cooking but don't soak them, it can cause a leaching of their vitamins.

I'm going to give you 2 recipes to start with carrots. Do these this week and let me know how you go. Its coming into winter so I'll be giving you lots of warming, comforting, healthy dishes. However, even though I'm not very attracted to raw foods in the winter, I like to eat a little every day, as raw food contains enzymes that can aid digestibility and can be higher in antioxidants (but not always!). One suggestion is to make a small salad or a salsa and eat it before or with your hot meal. Another great tip is, as you are cooking your dinner in the evening, chop up a carrot while you are chopping the rest of your ingredients and eat while you cook - you are then getting in one or your 5/7 fruit and vegetables a day without even thinking!!

Healthy Eating recipes: Warming Carrot and Ginger soup.

This is a lovely winter healthy eatin g soup as its got a nice kick from the ginger. Ginger is one of the best spices going, if there was a category 'Super spices', this would be in the top three. It is excellent for calming digestive problems and feelings of nauseousness, but also contains powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This is not the last you'll hear about ginger!

If you are going to have this as a starter, all well and good, the colour is fabulous. However, if its going to be your lunch or evening meal, please add some protein. You can do this by having some hummus and brown bread on the side, or by having some a bowl of yogurt with fresh fruit for dessert.

2 tbsp of peanut oil
4 carrots washed and grated
2 small red onions, chopped or thinly sliced
2 inches of fresh root ginger
3 medium carrots, chopped finely or grated
1 dessert spoon of runny honey
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
1 litre of boiling water
Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
Add the onions and stir well for a few minutes.
Grate the ginger and add to onions.
Add a little water, cover and let sweat for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
Add carrots, lime juice, honey, salt and pepper and stir well. I find this soup needs a good bit of pepper.
Add the boiling water and bring back to the boil.
Cover and let simmer for 45 mins.
Remove from the pan and liquidise with a hand blender or a liquidiser.
This is a great soup to freeze. Freeze in individual portions in plastic containers or it will keep for 3/4 days in the fridge.

Wheat free, gluten free, dairy free

Healthy Eating recipes: Chickpea and carrot salad with roasted cashews

This serves 2 portions. Cumin and carrot is a match made in heaven and this simple salad is great for putting in a lunchbox and taking to work. This dish is perfect for healthy eating and packed full of fibre with the carrots and chickpeas, and the olive oil and cashews add some beneficial essential fatty acids. The coriander tops up the dish with extra Vitamin A, Vitamin K and carotenoids. The cumin also makes is a more warming option as we go into winter.

60 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 small carrots, washed and grated
Half a bunch of coriander
1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
60 g of cashews (i.e. a handful)
400g of tinned chickpeas, well washed and drained
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the grated carrots in a bowl. Wash coriander, and roughly chop and add to the bowl.
Dry roast cumin seeds in a fry pan for a few minutes on a low heat, until the begin to smell good. Remove from heat, and roughly chop or grind in a grinder or pestle and mortar and add to bowl.
With the same fry pan, dry roast cashews for a few minutes to just heat them slightly. Roughly chop and add to the bowl. Make dressing with Olive oil and the juice of the lemon, and stir through salad. Season with salt and pepper.

Wheat free, gluten free, dairy free and sugar free

That's it for this week... happy eating!


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