Roasted Carrots with Lime Quinoa & Cinnamon–Brown Sugar Chickpeas

Roasted Carrots with Lime Quinoa & Cinnamon–Brown Sugar Chickpeas

I’ve been having one of those weeks where I feel really out of touch. I blame most of it on last week’s heat wave, which pretty much rendered me useless mentally and physically. The heat finally broke Friday night, and I got to enjoy a fun-filled weekend with my friend Nicole. We went to nearly all of my favorite food and drink spots in the area, and I got to try my hand at some fashion-y photos too. (I won’t even pretend to be anywhere near as good as her usual photographer, Clint Mejia. But it was a very fun experience!) Yesterday meant a return to reality, which translates to unanswered comments and emails, along with a daunting list of unread posts in my rss feed and a silent-for-days Pinterest account. Nicole and I spent a lot of time laughing about our “first world problems” this weekend, so yeah, it seems the theme continues. But now, it stops, and we can talk about food instead.

rainbow carrots

While I was out for drinks with my friend Hugo a couple weeks ago, it occurred to me that I hadn’t done a savory recipe post in a while. (This realization came to me as I was telling him about the 700 different flavors of ice cream I’m obsessing over making at the moment, and he said to me, “don’t you do a lot of healthy things too?”) When I finally remembered what the word “healthy” meant, I decided that I needed to squeeze a respectable savory dish into the summer recipe mix. Especially since at least two of those 700 ice cream flavors will probably happen in the next month, and there’s currently a cantaloupe + Lillet mixture in my fridge awaiting popsicle molds. (Or for me to invent a new dish called summer boozy fruit soup. It’s really tempting, trust me.)

rainbow carrots

This dish has been a favorite dinner of mine since the young carrots began showing up in the spring. And once the pretty rainbow carrots made an appearance on the store shelves, I snatched them up so I could incorporate them into this recipe and share it with you. Now, I just have to say that this was one of the most annoying sets of photos to edit, ever. Roasted carrots, while tender delicious roots that taste as though they were delivered straight from a 450° heaven, are shiny and wrinkly. Good eats, but not so good photo subjects. Add to that a pool of pickled mustard seeds and a big blog of bright white Greek yogurt to throw everything off, and yeah, adjustment brushing for hours.

Roasted Carrots with Lime Quinoa & Cinnamon–Brown Sugar Chickpeas

Regardless of whether or not this plate looks like a hot mess, it tastes freakin’ radtastic. I accidentally “discovered” cinnamon–brown sugar roasted chickpeas when I was in the midst of an epic multi-tasking kitchen session. I added a bunch of spices to some banana muffins, then went to taste a chickpea from a boiling pot of water to see if it was finished cooking. The combination of the chickpea + the brown sugar and cinnamon still stuck to my fingers was ridiculously good. They are especially delicious in this dish when combined with the lime quinoa. And then there’s my new favorite summer sauce combo of Greek yogurt + pickled mustard seeds + cilantro, which is pretty much the holy trinity of condiments. For real.

Roasted Carrots with Lime Quinoa & Cinnamon–Brown Sugar Chickpeas

I think that the thing I love most about this dish is that it begs to be stirred up into one big freakshow of a plate. It starts out looking rather respectable, but you’ll have mixed it up into a big Greek yogurt–covered mishmash by the time you’re done. And the chickpeas and pickled mustard seeds can be made ahead of time (I never seem to be without a jar of pickled mustard seeds or a container of roasted chickpeas in the fridge these days), which makes this extra easy to throw together. The carrots could of course be grilled instead of roasted, which would be equally delish. Make it, love it, and feel those good healthy dinner vibes. (And brace for more dessert posts. They cannot be stopped.)

Roasted Carrots with Lime Quinoa & Cinnamon–Brown Sugar Chickpeas

(Since this dish is basically just a bunch of separate components, I’ve listed each recipe on its own. The recipes below will serve at least two people.)

Roasted Carrots

one bunch of carrots (I used about a dozen medium-size rainbow carrots)

healthy drizzle of olive oil

a couple pinches of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 450°. Wash and dry carrots, then toss with olive oil and salt and arrange on a baking sheet. Roast until tender and nicely browned — approximately 30 minutes.

Cinnamon–Brown Sugar Roasted Chickpeas

2 cups of cooked chickpeas

1 tbsp of honey

1 tbsp of dark brown sugar

2 tsp of cinnamon

pinch of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss chickpeas with honey, salt, and spices and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

Lime Quinoa

1/2 cup of quinoa

1–1 1/2 cups of water (depending on type of quinoa — use a 1:2 ratio for white quinoa; 1:3 for red quinoa)

pinch of kosher salt

juice of half a lime

Bring water and salt to a boil in a wide shallow saucepan. Add quinoa, reduce to low heat, and cover. Simmer until all water has cooked off. Add lime juice.

Pickled Mustard Seeds

1 cup of mustard seeds

1 1/2 cups of water

1 1/2 cups of rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup of sugar

1 tbsp of kosher salt

Combine the mustard seeds, water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring often, for around 45 minutes, until the mustard seeds are plump and tender. Remove from heat and let cool, then transfer to a container and refrigerate. (They can be used right away, but they get even better after they’ve had a chance to sit in the fridge overnight.) Keep for several months.

Roasted Carrots with Lime Quinoa & Cinnamon–Brown Sugar Chickpeas

Add preferred serving of all of the above to your plate, along with a healthy dollop of Greek yogurt and a good amount of cilantro.

Roasted Carrots with Lime Quinoa & Cinnamon–Brown Sugar Chickpeas


  1. Hannah Evans says

    Lovely photos, Carey! Those carrots are gorgeous and I will have to give those chickpeas a try… I think my boys would probably love them!

      • says

        Thanks, Hannah! I bet C & S will love the chickpeas — I eat them like popcorn sometimes. :)

        And I think the quinoa would be a great side in a Mexican dish! If you add a little more water to it and let it cook for longer, it will expand and soften even more, which makes it a bit more sticky and rice-like. It’s a great substitute!

    • says

      Thanks, Sarah! I am ALL about the roasted carrots. The share the favorite spotlight with cauliflower for me, but getting the smaller spring/summer carrots that I don’t even need to bother cutting up makes them the winner for me these days. :)

  2. says

    Got to love roasted carrots. I love slightly sweetened chickpeas – infact I have a post on chickpeas salad with mango and kale. Mango gives that sweet edge. xo

  3. says

    Wow, this is beautiful! I love the colors of rainbow carrots. They do a lot to perk up a plate of brown things (albeit delicious brown things!). I love the combination of flavors in this dish: warm and earthy paired with bright and tangy–sounds like all things I want to eat! (And the tag “bachelorette food?!” YES. This is total single lady food, fo sho! That’s actually good for you. WIN.) You’ve been raving about those pickled mustard seeds for so long, and I have yet to make them. I have to get on that!

    It’s hard to think up inventive savory dishes once you get into sweet things. I really struggle with that. Lately I’ve been scouring books, magazines, and the blogs for inspiration, but nothing’s clicking. And that bulky RSS feed? Sometimes you just gotta hit “Mark all as read” and start fresh. There’s no good way to catch up on that business. Livin’ the real life has to take precedence! So glad you enjoyed your weekend away from the computer.

    • says

      Thanks, Brianne! Yes yes, I was soooo happy to get the rainbow carrots at the store. (With just the young spring carrots, it really is a plate of brown/orange.) And it’s totally a dish of contrasts too, between the earthy carrots and the sugary chickpeas and the tangy quinoa and yogurt and mustard seeds, and of course the cilantro to freshen everything up. I also love the temperature contrast between the warm carrots and the cool yogurt. I was thinking that it could maybe use a little bit of sriracha heat too, possibly on the quinoa. (I was also wondering if I could combine my love of sriracha chickpeas and cinnamon-brown sugar chickpeas, but I think that might be going a little too far. Maybe not, though.)

      I am such a bachelorette when it comes to my actual meals, and I totally eat the same savory things over and over. Sweet dishes are so much fun to dream up, but I really need to give the savory stuff some more creative energy!

  4. says

    i’ve told you many times already: your pickled mustard seeds saves lives. i’ve added to salad dressing, to roasted beets and spread it on bread for non-mayo chicken salad.

    i am most interested in your lime quinoa. i’m trying to lay off the rice and quinoa has been my go to. just plain though. methinks the splash of bright sour is exactly what i need to make it more palatable for me.

    • says

      Yes! I eat quinoa in place of rice pretty much constantly, and it can definitely be meh without a little flourish. The lime juice gives it a really delicious punch, for sure. I also love cooking it in veggie stock, or adding some soy sauce + sriracha too it. Or even a little ume plum vinegar. When I’m feeling extra fancy, I make coconut quinoa by replacing half the water with coconut milk, and adding in a little bit of sriracha. So good!

      So with my last batch of pickled mustard seeds, I accidentally cooked them for too long. They are REALLY thick and sticky, but they also developed this caramelized sugar flavor. I think it’s worth the stickiness, holy moly.

    • says

      Thanks, Denise! I treat them like a condiment, mixing them all up with the Greek yogurt and cilantro. (Not to say that they wouldn’t be delicious eaten by the spoonful.) :)

  5. says

    Man, if these photos were a struggle to edit, you really pulled off hiding that – they came out GORGEOUS! I love the perfect mix of savory foods and sweet spices / condiments here!

  6. says

    I’m blaming the heat for my out-of-touch on the internets tendencies too. Total back log of blog posts, news summary emails, questions about recipes etc etc to read. Can hardly focus for even 20 minutes to do it all on a GOOD day. I think I’m slowly starting to get back into a normal swing of productivity, but it takes some sincere effort I’m finding.

    And I love it when you do savoury stuff! This is the kind of thing I would eat every single day and just be so stoked every time. Photos are hella beautiful too, lady. xo

    • says

      Seriously. If I don’t do/respond to something immediately, I will forget about it for days. Stupid summer!

      I should really do more savouries, because they are my favorite! It would also inspire me to be a bit more creative from time to time, and shake my tendency to eat the same thing over and over and over when I make a dish that I really like. :D

  7. says

    I am so glad you guys had fun!! Those photos look amazing, btw. You did such an awesome job! I’m really looking forward to hearing more about the cheese festival, too, I can only daydream about the tasty variety of cheeses they had there. Ahhhhhh cheeeeeeeese.

    And my goodness, those carrots are just incredible-looking. I love the wrinkled look, makes them feel rustic and real. There’s such a great melange of flavors and sides on that dish, I am so intrigued!! I must try this one, especially since it sounds so healthy and I’m really trying to eat better as of late (I got fitted for my dress and while it looks nice, some areas could be slightly less lumpy if you know what I mean).

    And I feel you on the falling behind on blogging/social media bit. I’ve hardly pinned or tweeted at all the past couple weeks. July has just been kicking my butt and making me exhausted to the point where I don’t even feel like typing. But we just have to remember that its okay to take a break from these things for a week or two, we’re all entitled to a little “zone out” time, even if it makes us panic a bit to do so haha :)

    • says

      Thanks, Eva!! This is soooo wedding dress fitting food. :) Being a vegetarian for so long basically turned me into that person that just wants to make a meal out of a bunch of sides and condiments. Even now that I’m not a vegetarian, I live on the snack plate for dinner!

      I am so obsessive about trying to keep up with things, and I get so overwhelmed when I fall behind. I don’t even know how you’ve been doing it with your schedule! The “zone out” time is definitely so key. :)

      The cheese party was so much fun! I actually didn’t get to go to the official cheese festival on Sunday, though. :( (Nicole and I could have gone, but I opted to take her to the bakery instead!) The Saturday pre-party was catered by Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, Lake Champlain Chocolates, and Bluebird BBQ. Everything was SO GOOD. I’m actually going to get a chance to go out to VB&C this fall and check out their creamery and the (new!) goat farm! I am sooooo excited for that!!

  8. says

    I hear ya on the savory foods! Although it sounds like some really awesome recipes are coming our way! (omg, cantaloupe would be SO perfect in popsicles) And HA, would ‘crap, the sesame seeds on my homemade burger buns burned’ be considered a first-world problem? I think so. At least we can all laugh about it and not take ourselves too seriously.

    I remember falling in love with rainbow carrots last year, but for some reason, my mind goes into a blank when I think about what to pair with them. A hot mess, that’s what! Haha. I love all the separate components on your plate: I need lime quinoa in my life right now (it’s too grassy otherwise!), ditto to the chickpeas (ha, accidental eureka moments), and ah, those pickled mustard seeds still sound as delicious as ever. (Esp. with the cilantro – fave herb!)

    • says

      Bwahahaha. Darn those sesame seeds! I’ve burned them on bagels before, and it makes me so mad. :D

      Lime quinoa is the besssst, especially with all that cilantro kicking around no the plate! And I am addicted to roasting vegetables. (This is actually an extremely respectable looking dish compared to my other favorite dinner of the summer, which is basically ALL the roasted veggies I can pile on a plate, which I then eat covered in mounds of garlic scape pesto.)

      • says

        I’ve wondered about garlic scape pesto. Is it good? Does it taste like garlic? How do you even prepare garlic scape, with all its swoops and swirls?

        • says

          Oh man, it is THE BEST. I love it so much more than regular basil pesto. It’s super garlicky without being too garlicky, if that makes any sense. I’m now considering replacing the shrub/cocktail post I was going to put up today with a scape pesto one, since there’s a whole bunch in my fridge…

          But who knows if I’ll actually do that, so I’m going to give you my recipe now, and you should totally make it! The scapes can be a bit unruly when you try to break them down, but once you get them chopped down into smaller bits, they’re good to go.

          1 1/2 cups chopped garlic scapes

          1/2 cup of basil

          1/2 cup olive oil

          1/2 cup walnut oil (you could also just do all olive oil)

          1/2 cup parmesan

          1/2 cup cashews

          The key to this stuff is letting it sit for at least a few hours after you’ve blended it up. If you taste it when it’s first finished, it will be insanely garlicky. But the flavors really mellow and meld together after a while, especially if they have the chance to hang out overnight in the fridge. :D

  9. says

    What a truly beautiful blog you have.

    Carrots are one of the very few things I never liked the taste of as a generally not-picky child… Thankfully, I’ve slowly grown out of that silly aversion. It’s recipes like this that make me extra relieved! ;)

    • says

      Thank you, Irina!

      It’s funny, as a very picky child, I refused to eat carrots unless they were raw (and covered in a horrifying amount of salt, which I’d put on them when my parents weren’t looking). I wasn’t big on cooked carrots even as a grew up, until I finally discovered what roasting did to them. So good! :)

  10. says

    I’ve been meaning to comment on this post for about 6,789,904,345 years and KEEP FORGETTING. But in my brain it’s been like this

    a) Brown-sugar and cinnamon chickpeas. Dude. That is my ideal snackity snack. I’ve had salty paprika, and honey-mustard roasted chickpeas but not cinnamon-sugar! Ima need to stock up on chickpeas…

    b) My dad’s carrots are finally ready to harvest so I just know, soon we’re gonna have a LOT of them. They’re not as pretty as the carrots you have here (jealous of the purple ones..), but I’ll totes be roasting them (roasting them is my ideal way of cooking carrots tbh)!

    c) The pickled mustard seeds again! Yaay! With quinoa! Double yaay!

    This = win.

  11. says

    Okay, first off — I adore roasted carrots (especially rainbow carrots), but I know exactly what you mean about photographing them. You are a better photographer than I, because you’ve made them look perfectly lovely on that plate!

    Secondly, I have never even tried pickled mustard seeds. I feel ashamed to even call myself a foodie, now. This must be remedied.

    • says

      Aww, thanks, Willow! (It seriously took me FOR-EV-ER to make them look acceptable.) :)

      Yes! You must totally try pickled mustard seeds. They are so. good. I’m addicted!

  12. says

    Love the photography and the Cinnamon Chickpea recipe. Now if you had used Ceylon Cinnamon it would have been so much better. :-) Quinoa I am not a fan, but I think in this combination it works very well. Must try for sure.

  13. Emma says

    I oh-so-love plates of things that all taste good, and end up all tasting good together. I made brown rice instead of quinoa and added a bit of smoked paprika and garlic…it might get a dusting of brewers yeast. Yum. Thank you.

  14. Natasha says

    I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest and I must say, this looks beautifully delicious! I can’t wait to try it!


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