Honey and butter roasted vegetables. A trick (can we call it a trick?) I’ve discovered when entertaining guests and realising, last minute, that I’m short on things for them to eat. Honey, butter and sea salt are literally all it takes to transform an otherwise side dish, into the main event. I can’t tell you how many times this trick not trick has come to my rescue in the past few years.
Because honey isn’t particularly FODMAP friendly, and I don’t really need to eat more butter than I already do, I keep the honey and butter roasted vegetables to a minimum when I’m cooking for one. However, when I found myself one afternoon with some increasingly wilting baby carrots, I figured I ought to give them the sendoff they deserved, and gave them the royal treatment. I’m pretty glad I did – this just might be my favourite salad to date. It’s got crunch, salt and sweetness from the pepitas (which I make in bulk and eat as a snack) it’s got richness and warmth from the roasted carrots, lightness and #fitspo from the greens, and an insanely beautiful amount of zestiness from the herb and preserved lemon dressing.
Speaking of the dressing, it makes more than you need for this salad. Fret not – think of it as a FODMAP friendly chimichurri or gremolata – you can use it on tofu, fish or meat, on roasted vegetables, as a salad dressing, or probably even on pasta. The possibilities are endless.
A few friendly dietary requirement housekeeping: this recipe is gluten free, FODMAP friendly, grain free and vegetarian. If you’re a FODMAPper and are really against using even a teaspoon of honey, feel free to substitute it with maple syrup or rice malt syrup.
SERVES 2 AS A MAIN, 4 AS A SIDE
FOR THE HONEY BUTTER CARROT SALAD:
250g Dutch baby carrots, carrot top leafy bits removed (and kept! They make a great salad sprucer – they have a slightly bitter taste, somewhat similar to rocket, and add a bunch of punch to salads)
5-10g butter (if you use 10, you can drizzle the remaining honey and butter mixture over the salad at the end, heyo)
1 teaspoon honey
2 large handfuls greens of choice (I’ve used all sorts of sprouts, carrot tops, lettuce, rocket (or arugula for my international readership) micro greens and everything else, all to success
1 fennel bulb, sliced very finely or mandolined
1 tablespoon olive oil
Lemon juice, to taste
1 packet of haloumi (these vary in weight, but just buy the bigger one amirite)
FOR THE SEA SALT AND MAPLE TOASTED PEPITAS:
1/2 cup pepitas
2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
FOR THE HERB AND LEMON DRESSING:
1 large bunch of mint, leaving a few for a garnish if you fancy
1 large bunch of coriander, same as above
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
30g preserved lemon (about 2 small pieces, make sure you throw the whole thing in, not just the flesh)
Juice of 1 juicy lemon
Good pinch of sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place the washed and trimmed carrots on a sheet of baking paper. Dot around small pieces of butter (I use my hands) and 1 teaspoon of honey (I do not use my hands).
- Place the carrots into the oven for anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour. This depends on the thickness of your carrots and how ‘done’ you like them. I cook mine for close to an hour, because I like them well cooked and I like the honey caramelised.
- In your food processor, combine all the ingredients for the herb and lemon dressing, and whizz up until a smooth(ish, if your blender is like mine) sauce forms. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, use your hands to massage the olive oil and lemon juice into the thinly sliced fennel. Sprinkle with sea salt and allow to sit.
- When the carrots have about 10 minutes left, pop the pepitas into the oven on a lined baking tray. Don’t make my mistake, make sure you line it.
- Once the pepitas are toasted, remove them from the oven, pour over the maple syrup, and sprinkle over the 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Use a spoon to mix it all up – it should have sizzled on contact, and once the maple syrup cools it will harden. This is why you don’t put them straight on the tray. Because you’ll spend the next 10 minutes scrubbing off whole pepitas. Like I did.
- Cook the haloumi with a tiny smidge of oil over a high heat. Allow the pan to heat right up before adding the haloumi – it should sizzle on contact. Watch it constantly because haloumi loves to burn and nothing is more upsetting.
- Massage the greens into the fennel in the large bowl, drizzling with a little more olive oil and lemon if needed. Sprinkle with a lil bit of salt. Salt in salad seems odd but I promise it’s pretty much the difference between a boring and exciting salad. You know, unless your doctor hasn’t explicitly told you to stay away from salt.
- To assemble, lay the fennel and greens mixture down on your serving plate, and arrange the haloumi and carrots on top. Pour over the remaining honey and butter mixture, if you have some. Sprinkle over the pepitas, some extra herbs, and the herb lemon dressing. You can serve as is, or with an eggo, or as a side salad, or whatever you like.