I finally figured out a way to turn my favorite summer side dish into a winter side dish! It’s like a seasonal cooking miracle. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but it isn’t a stretch to say that these Hot Moroccan Carrots are a new favorite side dish recipe for us. They are served hot, straight out of the skillet, and the carrots are flavored with olive oil, lemon, cumin and garlic with a spicy kick from harissa. You are going to love them!!
I came up with this Hot Moroccan Carrot recipe kind of by accident one night when I was making dinner. It was super cold out, and I was feeling utterly cozy, puttering around in my Ugg boots, a cup of tea at hand. I had a pan of chicken in the oven, and I was just enjoying cooking for the sake of cooking. I felt calm. For once.
The inspiration happened because I had a boatload of carrots. What’s that expression: Necessity is the Mother of Invention… ? That’s what happened.
Aside, when you try to eat seasonally and you live in Vermont, you end up with a lot of roots. And carrots are one of the best roots of all. And apparently I am a carrot hoarder. I.e., somehow I ended up with five half-used bags of carrots in my produce drawer.
Please tell me this happens to you.
So on this cozy evening, I decided to clean them out and make something with them. I peeled them, and sliced them and pulled out my skillet. I didn’t really have a plan.
I looked around the kitchen for some inspiration. I think it was the massive bag of parsley I had from a recent photo shoot. Whatever it was, I suddenly thought of my favorite summertime side dish. Moroccan Carrots!
In the summertime, I make Moroccan Carrots all the time. I’ve been known to stand at the fridge and eat them right out of the bowl. I’ve shared my classic version here and it is an all time favorite. But I never think of making them when it is cold outside.
I guess I just don’t love cold side dishes in the winter; and my classic Moroccan carrot recipe is served cold. If you’ve never tried them, think of it this way: the carrots are almost marinated in the garlicky, cuminy oil and vinegar dressing.
What I decided to do was to slowly saute the carrots in oil in the skillet. I wanted them to soften gradually, and not become mushy. I also wanted a bit of caramelization on a few pieces to bring out the natural sweetness. And if I’m going to be totally honest, that just seemed like the coziest way to make them. What can I say? My Ugg boots make me a calmer human.
Anyway, my thought process then went like this: since this is a hot recipe and the carrots were already in the skillet, I opted to cook the garlic instead of making a raw garlic paste. To do that I just cleared a bit of pan, and let the oil pool into the cleared spot. Then I sautéed the chopped garlic in the oil. Then I stirred it into the carrots. Tricky huh?
I waited until the very end to add the spices so that they bloom in the hot oil but don’t burn. I added harissa to the spices too because I love the heat and it makes such a bold pop of flavor with the cumin and garlic.
To Finish I added in a lot of lemon and parsley, both classic additions.
The results are so good. And the left-overs are great heated up for lunch.
Do you have multiple open bags of certain ingredients in your fridge?
Do you have a pair of Ugg boots?
Do you avoid cold side dishes in the winter?
These hot Moroccan carrots are similar to my classic healthy Moroccan Carrots, in that they are bright and acidic and flavored with garlic, cumin and parsley. These Hot Moroccan carrots however are served, you guessed it, hot! Plus they have an added spicy kick from harissa.
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/3-inch slices (about 6 cups)
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dry harissa* see ingredient note
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ cup chopped curly parsley
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots and salt, and cook stirring occasionally until the carrots are crisp-tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Push carrots to one side of the skillet, leaving an open area of the skillet. Tilt skillet until oil pools in open area of the skillet. Add garlic to the oil and allow garlic to sizzle in the oil until fragrant and starting to brown in spots, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir into the carrots.
- Sprinkle cumin, coriander, harissa or cayenne and turmeric over the carrots, and stir to combine. Continue cooking, stirring constantly until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lemon juice and cook, stirring constantly until the lemon is mostly evaporated. Remove from the heat and stir in parsley. Serve hot or warm.
Dry harissa is a blend of hot peppers, paprika, and other herbs and other spices such as caraway, mint and cumin. I used Teeny Tiny Spice Co Organic harissa. But Frontier also makes it. You can also substitute harissa paste to taste.