Whole roast carrots with lentils, goat's curd and garlic chips

Roast carrot and lentil salad with crispy garlic.
Roast carrot and lentil salad with crispy garlic. Photo: Benjamin Dearnley
Dietary
Vegetarian

Carrots are the "extras" of the vegetable world. Always needed, but never the star. Here, I want to make a case for the carrot to have its shining moment. A long, slow roast does something magical to carrots, converting them from veg drawer wallflower to something sweet, tender, delicious and worthy of the centre of the table. It also helps that carrots rarely go up in price and are available everywhere.

Ingredients

500g whole carrots

salt

1 + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

200g Puy lentils

1 small onion, diced

2 + 4 cloves garlic

1 bay leaf

salt and black pepper

60ml neutral oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 handful chopped parsley

2 tsp honey

juice of ½ a lemon

1 tbsp chopped dill

50g creamy goat's curd or marinated feta

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200C fan-forced (220C conventional).

2. Drizzle the carrots with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 30 minutes or until well browned on all sides and completely soft.

3. While the carrots are baking, rinse the lentils under cold water and set them aside. Finely chop 2 garlic cloves and cut the remaining 4 garlic cloves into paper-thin slices using a mandolin or a very sharp knife. Set aside the sliced garlic.

4. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onion and the finely chopped garlic until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the lentils and 800ml of water, along with the bay leaf, a good pinch of salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Bring this up to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender but not falling apart. Drain if there is any excess liquid and discard the bay leaf.

5. Heat the neutral oil over medium heat in a small saute pan and set up a plate with 2 sheets of paper towel nearby. When the oil is hot, add the sliced garlic and stir it around so it cooks evenly. Do not take your eyes off the pan as the garlic can go from light golden brown to burnt and acrid in a matter of seconds. When the garlic is a light golden colour, scoop it out onto the paper towel.

6. Season the lentils with the vinegar and add the chopped parsley. Taste for salt and put onto a serving plate.

7. When the carrots are cooked, drizzle with honey, add a squeeze of lemon juice, scatter over the chopped dill and goat's curd and toss everything together. Top the lentils with the dressed carrots and finish with a good crack of black pepper and the crispy garlic.

More budget-friendly recipes from Danielle Alvarez