The Tefal team are always here to provide you with recipe inspiration for the biggest events in the calendar: Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, International Carrot Day…
Yes, that’s right, April 4th is International Carrot Day. “Why?”, you might ask. We’re not too sure ourselves, so we went to the official Carrot Day website to find out, where we learnt that it “is the pinnacle for carrot lovers all around the world. It is the day when the carrot is celebrated through carrot parties and other carrot-related festivities”.
So, now that’s cleared up, anyone for pin the carrot on the donkey? Musical carrots? Who can eat the most carrots without their skin turning orange? Let’s get a #carrotawareness hashtag going. There’s just so much carrot fun to be had!
Joking aside for a moment, maybe we do take carrots for granted a little. They’re pretty much a superfood thanks to their high antioxidant content, and they’re packed full of vitamin A, which is really good for your liver.
Carrots are also a really versatile cooking ingredient; they don’t just belong in carrot cake or alongside your meat and spuds on a Sunday. Get into the spirit of International Carrot Day and start experimenting with carrots in your cooking.
Carrots for breakfast
Carrots are not generally a breakfast food. They might make an appearance at lunchtime if we’re trying to be good with a salad, but, usually, they’d be confined to the dinner table, most likely covered in gravy.
Forget about salads and gravy, and think porridge oats instead. Carrots make a great addition to overnight oats, and give you an opportunity to sneak an extra one of your five a day into your breakfast before you’ve even gone to bed the night before.
Layer up grated carrot with natural yoghurt and uncooked oats, and add in any other chopped fruit or nuts you fancy, stirring everything together before you head to bed. Jar of Lemons has a handy blog post talking you through this, suggesting spices to add for a truly unique breakfast flavour.
You know how carrot cake doesn’t really taste of carrot, just yummy cake? It’ll be the same with these – you won’t even notice the carrot’s there, but you’ll know, and feel super healthy all the same.
Carrot kofta curry
The carnivores among us should aim to join in #MeatFreeMonday at least occasionally, swapping out meat for veggie alternatives in their favourite dishes to make sure they’re not eating too much fat and other processed gubbins.
If this is a new concept to you, then a curry is a good place to start. Curry tastes good whether it’s got meat in it or not, meaning you won’t miss it at all if you swap it for something else. Take these carrot and red lentil koftas from Amuse Your Bouche, for instance, which just so happen to be vegan-friendly too.
Use a blender to combine grated carrot, lentils, chilli and other seasonings until you can mould it into ‘meatball’ or finger shapes. Make up your usual curry sauce and serve with rice or salad – or go krazy and have both. Don’t tell the rest of the family what the koftas are made from and see if they can tell.
Spaghetti bolognese: The carrot version
Do carrots belong in a spaghetti bolognese? Some believe they are a key ingredient and need adding right at the start of the sauce-making process along with the onion, but others leave it out, thinking it doesn’t really bring anything extra to the dish.
We strongly disagree with those in the second camp, as the carrots bring a gorgeous natural sweetness to a bolognese sauce, balancing out some of the stronger flavours from the beef stock and red wine. We applaud Little Miss Katy for including carrots in her recipe, which is a great starting point for making a classic bolognese. Swap out the beef for Quorn and veggie stock if you prefer.
As it’s International Carrot Day though, we think the carrot stakes can be raised. Instead of serving your sauce up with spaghetti, have it with carrot noodles. Use a spiralizer to create spaghetti shapes with your carrots and you’ll have a light, low-cal dish. If you’re not quite ready to make the leap from carbs to carrots, go for half’n’half. Delish.
Chocolate fudge carrot brownies
We already know that carrot works well in a cake, so why wouldn’t it be good in a brownie too? Well, it just so happens to be.
Carrots add extra moistness to a cake, meaning they bring an element of beautiful fudginess to a chocolate brownie, like these ones from My Ginger Garlic Kitchen. Like with a lot of these recipes, you won’t even notice there’s carrot in there when it comes to eating, and you can have your cake and eat it without any guilt as there’s veg in there, which makes it healthy – right?
We’re also fully behind the recipe’s serving suggestion of vanilla custard and caramel sauce – not foods we’d usually team with carrot, but it sounds pretty divine.
Carrot cake cheesecake
So, if you can put carrot in a sponge cake and carrot in a brownie, surely you can put it in a cheesecake too. That’s what Cooking Classy has done, and we have to say that the result looks absolutely spectacular, and would make the perfect showstopping centrepiece for your International Carrot Day party.
It’s basically a carrot cake base, topped with a classic cheesecake mixture and chopped pecans to finish. We might not ever be able to eat standard carrot cake ever again.