literally the best carrots
(serves 4 as a side dish)
6 large carrots, peeled or scrubbed and cut into 1 1/2” chunks
3 tbsp vegan butter (choose one without palm oil, if possible)
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup broth prepared with 1/2 - 1 tsp bouillon liquid, ideally “vegetarian chicken” flavor (choose the level of saltiness based on your palate; to my family members reading, you’ll want the full tsp)
black pepper and (optional) vegan Parmesan to serve
In a large pan with a lid, melt vegan butter over high heat. Once sizzling, add the carrots and garlic, coating completely, and sauté until the garlic is gently browned — about one minute.
Add rosemary and broth; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
Once carrots are soft (but not total mush), remove lid, increase heat to medium, and reduce liquid until it is a golden glaze — browned but not burned.
If desired, mash with the back of a wooden spoon or a food processor to desired softness. Serve with love, pepper, and perhaps some vegan Parmesan.
Growing up, my mom fed us carrots constantly; baby carrots (or if it was a really great day, a full “Bugs Bunny carrot”) in my lunchbox, and freshly-cut carrot sticks in ice water at dinner. I loved it. I remember going on a field trip to a carrot farm and achieving my determined goal to pick both the most carrots and the largest carrot in the class.
I still love and often crave raw carrots, but as I’ve been incorporating Ayurvedic principles into my lifestyle, I’ve found that cooked vegetables, including and especially carrots, are often much more beneficial for my constitution than raw. Originating in India over 5,000 years ago, Ayurveda is the oldest known comprehensive healing system in world; in Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “science of life.” Sharing the same philosophical origin, is widely considered to be the “sister science” to yoga.
As is likely evident, Ayurveda is too vast and rich to do proper justice in one blog post, but I strongly encourage you to read up about it. Earlier this year, I did an Ayur-Yoga training with my teacher and friend, Kristen Schneider; her book, “Your Life is Medicine,” is a lovely place to begin your Ayurvedic education.
Ayurvedic wellness is predicated largely on the idea that “opposites create balance,” and key to establishing balance in one’s mind, body, and spirit is choosing the correct foods and preparations to balance one’s dominant dosha, or elemental mind-body constitution. The three doshas are vata (comprised of air and ether), pitta (comprised of fire and water), and kapha (comprised of water and earth). Everyone has all three doshas present in their constitution, but most people have one or two dominant doshas. This article from Kripalu gives a solid and succinct rundown of the doshas, their qualities, and how to keep them in balance; and several quizzes, such as this one, this one, and this one, can help to give you an idea of your dominant dosha(s) (*though there is no true substitute to an in-person evaluation by an Ayurvedic practitioner).
My dosha (both mind and body) is vata-dominant — the air/ether element — which manifests in my wild, curly, and frizzy hair; small-boned build, love of warm, humid weather (and aversion to cold, dry weather); and a general fast-moving energy that is vibrant, joyful, and creative when balanced; disorganized, frenetic, and “frazzled” when less so. Accordingly, to balance these “airy” qualities, Ayurvedic principles encourage me to consume grounding foods, particularly those which are warm, moist, and cooked; favoring sweet, salty, and sour tastes. As these carrots are warm, moist, cooked, sweet, and salty, they’re a perfect dish for balancing vata energy.
Even if your dosha isn’t vata-dominant, however, you may benefit from these carrots as the weather shifts where you live. Ayurvedic doshas correspond with seasons, and vata season begins in late autumn in much of the northern hemisphere. However, I encourage you to tune in with your environment, body, and weather; while it still feels like a mild version of Florida summer here, my job has me often working in chilly, air-conditioned rooms, keeping an irregular schedule, and traveling by airplane, all of which increase vata energy. Accordingly, between my vata-dominant constitution and these lifestyle factors, I find it beneficial to consume vata-balancing foods, year round…
Especially these carrots, because they’re literally the best.