Eight ingredients, plus pantry staples. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a feast for family or friends.
If you find yourself leaning toward more plant-based eating lately (like me!), you likely also face the frequent dilemma of how to bulk up these dishes. A meal without any meat can leave you just as happy—and full—if you find the right strategies. For me, one of those is incorporating a spicy yogurt sauce along with a crunchy element. This approach really pulls simple vegetable dishes together and makes them feel like a complete lunch, or even dinner.
Here you have all the pieces of a successful flavor profile: sweet roasted carrots, warming curry powder, bright herbs and lemon, and both cooling and spicy elements from a whipped yogurt.
The bad news is that you need two sheet pans for roasting, but the good news is that everything cooks at once within a half-hour. And while that’s happening, you can prep the rest. Let the rinsed chickpeas dry out on a dishtowel if you have extra time, to encourage their crunchy transformation in the oven. On the other hand, if you’re short on time, you don’t actually have to peel the carrots. You can give them a quick and gentle scrub with a vegetable scrubbing sponge or even a regular (new) scouring pad, such as the heavy duty ones made by Scotch-Brite.
While chickpeas serve as the main source of protein here, you can easily make the meal heartier, and yet still plant-based, by adding black lentils into the mix. I like to cook them the same way you would pasta, in well-salted boiling water (in this case, for about 20 minutes or so).
Curry powder—a spice mix that tends to star seasonings such as coriander, turmeric, ginger, garlic and cardamom—is an incredible shortcut for weeknight meals. It’s basically an all-in-one flavor booster. Plus, it’s easy to create customized blends at home. (Bonus points if you grind the spices from their whole ingredients with a spice grinder.) Make a big batch and tailor it to your taste, then store it in an airtight container to use again and again.
The quick herb sauce adds a freshness that’s perfect for spring, and it can also be customized based on your preferences and ingredient access. If you can’t find carrots with the greens still attached, try your local farmers market. Or simply replace those with a different tender herb, like basil, or just use more parsley.
The finishing touch of roasted almonds is optional, but they bring a nice nutty flavor and additional element of crunchiness to this dish.
Fuller white wines could make a pleasing pairing, but a red on the lighter side of the spectrum is what I have in mind here, since the curry powder gives the dish depth and intensity. Seek out a selection with fresh acidity to back its fruit flavors, preferably one with spice notes that complement or echo the spices in the curry, such as this Viña Montes Pinot Noir Aconcagua Coast Alpha 2020.
Curry-Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas with Spicy Yogurt
Pair with a fresh red, preferably with savory spice notes, such as Viña Montes Pinot Noir Aconcagua Coast Alpha 2020 (88 points, $20).
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Approximate food costs: $20
- 2 bunches carrots (about 2 pounds total), with greens still attached
- 2 15.5-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- Pinch of cayenne
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1/4 cup mint
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon, divided
- 1/4 cup almonds, roasted and roughly chopped (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F while you prep the carrots: Trim the greens off the tops and wash and dry them for use in the herb sauce, discarding the toughest parts of the stems. Peel the carrots (or remove the surface layer with a scrubbing pad) and halve lengthwise. Cut any particularly thick carrots into quarters lengthwise.
2. In a small bowl, combine the vegetable oil with the curry powder. Add half the mixture to a large bowl with the carrots and toss, then season to taste with salt and spread the carrots on a large, foil-lined sheet pan, covering it tightly with another layer of foil. Add the chickpeas to the same large bowl with the remaining curry-oil mixture and season to taste with salt, then spread the chickpeas on a second large, foil-lined sheet pan. Place the sheet with the carrots in the oven on the highest rack and the sheet with the chickpeas on the middle rack.
3. Roast for about 20 minutes until the carrots are softened and starting to brown. Uncover, increase the heat to 425° F and return to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the carrots have some deep brown edges and the chickpeas are crispy. Keep a close eye (and nose) on the chickpeas, removing them from the oven a few minutes before the carrots if they seem like they’re about to start burning.
4. In the meantime: In a medium bowl, use a whisk to whip the yogurt together with a pinch of cayenne (let your tolerance for spice guide you) and half of the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt, adding more cayenne if desired, and set aside. In a food processor, pulse together the carrot greens, parsley, mint, olive oil, remaining lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of water. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
5. To serve, spread a large dollop of spicy yogurt across each plate, then top with the roasted carrots, chickpeas and dollops of the herb sauce. Sprinkle with the almonds if desired. Serves 4.