One of my favorite secret ingredients borrowed from Middle Eastern cooking is pomegranate molasses. You can find it in most international grocery stores, and I’ve started seeing in pop up in the international section of some regular grocery stores as well. It’s also really easy to make on your own – just boil down fresh or store bought pomegranate juice until it reduces to the consistency of molasses.
No matter your source – this stuff is delicious. It’s sweet, tangy, and adds a general brightness to any recipe. Try using it as a substitute in any place where you would normally use good balsamic vinegar, and you will not be disappointed.
For this recipe I dressed up some already beautiful colored carrots with a pomegranate molasses glaze at the end of roasting. These carrots would be great as a side dish on their own, but I love them balanced out with some peppery arugula and a sweet orange ginger vinaigrette. Topping the salad with feta cheese keeps with the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern theme.
While your carrots roast, work on the homemade vinaigrette, and you’ll have dinner in under a half an hour.
Here’s what you’ll need
For Roasted Carrots:
- 2 lbs heirloom/colored carrots
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ – ½ tsp cayenne depending on spice preference
- ½ tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
For Orange Ginger Vinaigrette:
- 1 ½ tsp fresh minced ginger
- 1 orange – used for zest and 2 tbsp juice
- ½ tsp finely minced garlic (about 1 small clove or half a regular sized clove)
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- ⅓ – ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- Black pepper to taste
For the salad:
- 6 oz arugula
- 3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- ½ pomegranate, seeded
Preheat oven to 425. Slice carrots in half or in quarters lengthwise depending on their size and place on baking sheets.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Roast in the oven for 20-22 minutes until mostly fork tender.
Remove the roasted carrots from the oven, then sprinkle with brown sugar and drizzle with pomegranate molasses. Stir to form a glaze over the carrots and place back in oven to roast an additional 3 minutes or until the glaze begins to caramelize.
While your carrots roast, whip up the orange ginger vinaigrette. To start add minced ginger, minced garlic, orange zest, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup to a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking continuously to emulsify the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper and whisk again. Taste and adjust any ingredients as necessary.
To assemble, toss the arugula with the orange ginger vinaigrette and place in serving bowl. Top with warm roasted carrots. To finish, sprinkle with the feta cheese and pomegranate seeds. I didn’t have any on hand for this recipe, but pepitas would be a great addition to this as well!