It’s been a while. We’re all navigating what’s best for ourselves right now and I’m no different. I just needed some time to collect myself and be away from screens and notions of productivity for a bit. I understand and recognize my great privilege in being able to do that. Gratitude doesn’t even begin to cover what I’ve been feeling. Thank you to everyone that sent me emails and Instagram DM’s, checking in to see if everything was good. I really do appreciate it and honestly found it deeply moving. My extended family and I are healthy and that’s all I can ask for.
But I want to be here for my online community as well, and I finally feel ready to share and be useful. I took one of those career self assessment tests recently and my highest scoring skillset was “appreciation of beauty.” I didn’t know that this was a skillset?! I always see food and my home life as a moving art form in a way, and during times like this, that approach has been even more beneficial and grounding. We’re all spending so much time at home, learning about ourselves a bit more, getting caught up in a slower way of living. While some aspects of the stay-home life put me in a mood at times, I also see it for the opportunity that it is. It’s forced us to be present and extra mindful in everything that we do.
I’ve been taking my time with our food and really tapping into my intuition with cooking. I’ve had full days of just carbs without a green leafy thing in sight. This doesn’t normally fly in our house but, no surprises here, I feel totally fine and sometimes you just need to feast on bread and potatoes without giving it too much thought. This new routine has thrown me way out of our old routine and (as I’m recently discovering) some recurring thought patterns about cooking and wellbeing. While some of it is uncomfortable, I am grateful for it.
Our recipe today has been a frequent make during these times at home. It’s still so cold here and Spring’s asparagus and radishes feel so far away. We roast a tray of root vegetables for an hour and plate them up with a tangy, herb-y, slightly spicy, very creamy vegan yogurt sauce. The roots are tender, slightly sweet and caramelized and the sauce cuts through with brightness. It’s comfy and cozy but also fresh, nourishing and suggestive of the Spring flavours to come. I’ve been making variations of Sara’s quick green sauce recipe and this yogurt sauce is an extension of it. It’s a perfect landing spot for slightly wilting herbs or maybe bumper crops popping up on your garden (if you’re lucky enough to be in a warmer part of the world right now.
Sending you all love and a big hug. Keep being there for each other! Would love to know what you’ve been cooking during these times.
GROUNDING ROASTED ROOTS WITH HERBED JALAPEÑO YOGURT SAUCE
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: I would make this a meal by serving it in a grain bowl-style setup with some cooked farro, white beans, and a big handful of chopped/baby greens per person.
-I used carrots and beets, but any mixture of root vegetables you like is good. You’ll need 1 ½ pounds.
-If you don’t have za’atar spice blend, that’s fine! Just use salt and pepper. The sauce is super flavourful.
-The best non-dairy yogurts for savoury applications like this (in my opinion!) are: Culina, Anita’s, Lavva or Coyo.
1 lb carrots (5 medium), peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces
½ lb beets, (3 medium/4 small) peeled and chopped into 1-inch wedges
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons za’atar spice
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup mixed herbs, packed (I used parsley, dill & basil), plus extra for garnish
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (I left some of the seeds because I like the heat)
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons shelled and salted pistachios, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup thick non-dairy yogurt (see headnotes for recommendations)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9x13x2 baking dish with parchment paper.
Place the chopped carrots and beets in the baking dish and toss them with the olive oil, za’atar, salt and pepper. Once the vegetables are evenly coated, spread them out into a single layer and slide the dish into the oven. Roast the vegetables for 1 hour, taking them out at the halfway point to stir them up and flip them over.
Make the herbed jalapeño yogurt sauce: In a food processor, combine the herbs, jalapeño, garlic, pistachios, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse the machine a few times until everything is finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula if necessary. Add the non-dairy yogurt to the food processor and pulse until the sauce is fully combined and uniformly light green. Check the sauce for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
To serve: Spread the herbed jalapeño yogurt sauce out on the base of your serving plate. Pile the roasted root vegetables on top of the yogurt sauce.
Garnish the grounding roasted roots and herbed jalapeño yogurt sauce with extra chopped herbs and pistachios. Serve warm or at room temperature.