The sunset glimmers for a few minutes as I drive home. I stayed late at work, but the days are getting longer, so I get to catch this brilliant pink and indigo show anyways. By the time I make it home, the moon is full and the rest of the sky dark. You can tell this means spring is coming, but here the ground is still frozen and hard.
I am just starting to think about what we will put into our garden and carrots are one of the first crops that comes to mind. They are one of the first crops we'll be able to plant--leafier greens will need to wait until after our frost date, which is in May. Because that's still a long ways off, I try to reel in my thoughts and expectations.
Still these spring thoughts put me in a springy mood, so when I get to the kitchen the meal that ensues is bright and fresh. Carrots are the cornerstone, roasted in avocado oil so that even though they are off-season, their sweetness is bold.
The rest is simple: baby spinach (more spring vibes there), the biggest, juiciest dried cranberries I've ever had (they're from Made in Nature), and toasted walnuts.
Serves: 4 | Total Time:
- 1/4 cup avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger, grated on microplane
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 large carrots
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Cut carrots into equally sized sticks, about 3 inches long and 1 centimeter thick. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, avocado oil, orange zest, ginger, and salt. Place carrots in bowl and toss to coat. Then, spread carrots out on sheet pan in even layer and place in oven.
- Bake carrots for 20 minutes, until they are softened through and starting to brown on the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Whisk together ingredients for dressing. Fill salad bowl with spinach, and top with carrots, cranberries, and walnuts. Pour dressing over salad when ready to serve, and toss.