As we transition into fall, focusing on grounding root vegetables like turnip, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, beet, and winter squashes is one of my favorite ways to prepare for colder weather. Carrots are loaded with beta carotene which is deeply nourishing for our immune system and skin health. Our skin is our largest organ and plays a major role in immunity - so keeping skin strong, supple, and healthy is a top priority (1). That is why we are so excited to share this lovely roasted carrot side dish packed with immunity-boosting support. Adding gremolata brings tons of flavor + we get all the bountiful health benefits of parsley, lemon, and garlic. This version from Cookie + Kate is just wonderful! Fun fact: letting raw garlic rest for a few minutes after chopping actually boosts its allicin potency which activates powerful anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and immune boosting properties (2,3). Lastly, the toasted walnuts add a punch of omega-3 fatty acids to help lower inflammation and support brain and heart health. This seasonal recipe is full of fiber, immune-support, and is really delicious. We think you will love it too!
Why we LOVE carrots for immune-support:
Beta carotene (red-orange pigment) is a precursor of vitamin A (4). Vitamin A is a fat-soluble essential antioxidant that plays critical roles in a variety of important functions including eye health, immunity, and skin health. Vitamin A is responsible for maintaining the integrity and function of skin AND helps skin stay moist which promotes a strong barrier lowering risk of infections (5,6). In addition, vitamin A is imperative to cell growth and differentiation and thus increasing the number of disease-fighting cells present in the body (7,8) Carotenoids like beta carotene have also been hypothesized to protect against oxidative stress and the effects of UV damage from the sun (9). Both animal sources (preformed vitamin A) and plant sources (provitamin A beta carotene) require fat to be well absorbed so adding a drizzle of avocado oil or olive oil will do the trick (5,8).
Roasted Carrots with Parsley Gremolata & Toasted Walnuts
Serving: approximately 1/2 cup
Number of servings: 2-4 servings
Roasted Carrot Ingredients:
1 large bunch of carrots
1 TBSP avocado oil
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
2-4 TBSP of toasted walnuts chopped (add at the end)
Gremolata Topping Ingredients:
1 finely chopped medium bunch of flat-leaf parsley
Zest from 1 medium lemon (we used a microplane to zest)
1 medium clove garlic minced
(You may have some condiment left over - don't worry - it is delicious on a ton of dishes!)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Wash, peel, and remove green tops from carrots. Chop carrots in four pieces. Side note: Carrot tops are wonderful for adding to a future veggie broth base.
3. Toss carrots in avocado oil, salt, pepper, and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet.
4. Roast carrots for approximately 45 minutes or until fork tender.
5. Prepare Gremolata and set aside to marinate.
6. Toast walnuts on the stove or in a toaster oven and set aside. Do not walk away - this will happen fast. Let walnuts cool and chop into pieces. (If you are making this recipe ahead of time, prep the walnuts right before service.)
7. Top the carrots with 1-2 TBSP of gremolata and toss together. Taste and add more gremolata if needed. Add walnuts & enjoy!
1.Fullscript Education: 6 Best Foods for Skin Health
2. Lane, K. Garlic: An Exploration of Allicin and Antioxidant Activity.
3. Cleveland Clinic - Health Essentials: 6 Surprising Ways that Garlic Boosts Your health.
4. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: Vitamin A
5. Gilbert, C.: What is Vitamin A and why do we need it?
6. Schagen, S.K., Zampeli, V., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C. Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging.
7. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: Foods to Boost the Immune System
8. National Institutes of Health - Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin A Fact Sheet for Health Professionals
9. Evans, J. A. & Johnson, E. J. The role of phytonutrients in skin health.
Gremolata (Italian Parsley condiment) by Cookie + Kate
****The nutrition information in this blog is for educational purposes only****
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