This lovely Warm Roasted Carrot Salad with Feta and Dill makes eating healthy a pleasure. This recipe is simple, quick, and beautiful for a weeknight or a special occasion.
Recently, a friend of mine invited me to try out Barre classes at a local Columbus studio called Studio B. The truth is, I was a bit intimidated. I’m traditionally more of a pilates-video-in-my-living-room kind of girl. I haven’t taken many group fitness classes in my life, and the ones I have taken were…wellll…not my favorite. Honestly, the words “boot camp” still send shivers down my spine. That, coupled with my rather-enthusiastic-post-baby-belly-jiggle, made me less than excited to don a pair of skin tight leggings and stand in front of a mirror.
Still, I was lured by the thought of child care and a whole hour just for myself. After the first class, I understood why my friend calls herself a “barre addict.” It’s easy to fall in love with this kind of workout. The environment is fun and supportive, with a rocking playlist, house made infused water, and upbeat instructors. Unlike boot camp or spinning, which made me feel like I was going to keel over, this workout made me feel strong and confident. The ballet inspired moves were targeted and effective. I know because I felt the effectiveness in my “under-butt” (don’t laugh…you know exactly what I’m talking about) for days after.
So what’s this have to do with food, or, more specifically, with these Roasted Carrots with Feta and Dill? Here’s the thing I’m learning, and it’s taking me a long time. A healthy lifestyle isn’t all or nothing, and it looks different for everyone. I used to think because everyone else loved to run marathons, I should run marathons. Clearly, marathon running was necessary in order to be healthy. But of course, I haaaaaated running, so I figured that was a lost cause and I should probably just eat brownies on the couch instead.
The same goes for healthy foods. It’s easy to think, “ARGH I hate green smoothies and love gluten, so clearly I’m doomed”. But the truth is, you don’t have to eat kale or do hot yoga just because it’s all the rage. There are plenty of other vegetables in the sea, as they say. Maybe you like beets or broccoli or blood oranges or bananas. Maybe you hate going to the gym, but feel right at home at the ice skating rink. It’s not “run or do nothing” or “be paleo or be a couch potato.” It’s more about finding the things that you love, and enjoying them to the full.
For me, that involves things like these gorgeous roasted carrots. I picked up these adorable baby carrots last month. I didn’t have a plan for them. In fact, I usually don’t even like cooked carrots, but these were too pretty to resist. When I got home, I bucked the traditional steamed-carrots-in-sugary-syrup-route and instead roasted them until they were crisp tender then tossed them with a simple vinaigrette with feta and fresh dill.
These carrots? These are my kind of healthy. They’re beautiful, inspiring, simple, and, most importantly, delicious. Eating them wasn’t a chore, it was a delight. In fact, after photographing them, I found myself standing at the sink, gobbling up the scraps because I didn’t want to waste a bite.
You might be asking yourself a few questions right about now. Here are my answers:
Can you make this recipe with regular orange carrots? Absolutely. I’ve tried it with orange carrots and it’s just lovely. The main thing is if you want to leave them whole like this, you’ll want to look for slim, svelte carrots instead of the big, fat beefy ones. I reckon you could even swap other vegetables (like sweet potatoes or green beans in this). Use whatever pretty little thing that inspires you at the grocery store this week.
Can you cut up the carrots rather than leaving them whole? Yes. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly. The smaller the carrot, the less cooking time it’ll need.
Do you have to do barre just because I said it’s cool and really love it? Absolutely not. You do you, friend!
Should you check out Studio B if you’re in Columbus and looking for a great workout? Definitely. Do it for the strength training. Do it for the confidence you’ll feel when you leave. Do it because the instructors will challenge you, encourage you, and then hold your sweet baby when it’s all over. And if that’s not convincing enough, just try it for the child care. For the love of mommas everywhere, do it for the child care.
Roasted Carrots with Feta and Dill
- 1 lb. carrots, scrubbed clean and sliced in half lengthwise if they're thick
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil.
- In a sealed jelly jar, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, dijon, and salt. Seal and shake until well combined. Line the carrots up on the pan and toss them with half the olive oil mixture. Roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping half way through. If your carrots are small and thin it'll be on the shorter side, fatter carrots will take longer.
- Remove the carrots to a plate and toss with the remaining oil mixture. Sprinkle with black pepper, feta, and dill. Serve warm.