It’s the tail end of winter, only a few more weeks to go and we’ll be transitioning into spring. A season of fresh new produce – asparagus, broad beans, peas, baby leeks, rhubarb and sweet strawberries. For the moment we’re making the most of a prolific supply of late season root vegetables.
I’ve always loved the intense sweetness of oven roasted carrots. They’re a trusty supporting act to any traybake or Sunday roast. Usually unacknowledged and taken for granted, yet another vegetable on the plate. With just a little tweaking, they can be transformed into something moreishly delicious and given the opportunity to be the star of their own show.
Like this sweet roasted carrot hummus. Served just this weekend with a radicchio and fennel salad as a wonderful accompaniment to a pork loin roast. A fantastic, if not a little surprising flavour combination. All that was needed was a generous smear (about a quarter cup at 120 calories) to bring an interesting meal to the table.
Of course for a 5-2 fast day meal, I’d swap out the pork loin roast for a seared lean pork fillet at just 115 calories per 100g serve. And it goes without saying, no ifs or buts, that even the merest whiff of crackling would definitely be off the agenda. That said, this variation on hummus is equally delicious on its own. Served as a dip with an assortment of raw vegetable crudities, it easily becomes a very versatile 5-2 lunch or light meal.
Sweet Roasted Carrot Hummus
Makes about 2 cups (120 calories per 1/4 cup serve or 30 calories per tablespoon)
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained weight 240g (394 calories)
4 large carrots,peeled and sliced into chunks (120 calories)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (240 calories)
1 lemon, juiced and zest finely grated (12 calories)
2 tablespoons tahini (180 calories)
1 large garlic clove, peeled and bruised (4 calories)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (8 calories)
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika (4 calories)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
PREHEAT oven to 180 C. Line a baking tray with non stick paper.
TOSS peeled carrot chunks with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on prepared tray for 20-25 minutes until tender and golden brown on the edges.
PLACE chickpeas, roasted carrots garlic, tahini, cumin, paprika, lemon zest and juice into a blender or small food processor. Pulse to break down, then with motor running add up to 1/2 cup of water in a thin steady stream until light and creamy.
BLEND to desired consistency – chunky or smooth. If the hummus is too thick, add a little more water to thin it out. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
TRANSFER to a bowl and chill until ready to serve.