Umbrian Roasted Carrot & Borlotti Bean Salad with a Honey Lemon Dressing

‘If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation. If we chew every morsel of our food in that way we become grateful and when you are grateful, you are happy’, Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Zen master and peace activist. It is my heartfelt belief that, if we could just live in the sunshine of this one thought, we would all be so much happier. I cannot bear to be in a room without feeling the breeze on my face; I cannot bear not to hear songbirds and the sounds of life. Similarly, I don’t like walking along aisles and aisles of processed food or to witness people eating food on the run or, even worse, at their desks. Simplicity, mindfulness, a sense of belonging in the community and living in tune with nature is the answer even when you live in the city as we do. As you may know, I recently started a culinary residency at the School House Gallery in York, a beautiful bright and airy space fashioned out of a Victorian junior school very similar to the one I grew up in. Two weeks in, I realise that it isn’t the modest success that brings me the greater joy. No, what makes my heart sing is observing the growing number of people leaving their desks and coming to share my food with friends, sometimes two days in a row; their faces are animated and their eyes are shining; they are engaged with the world and curious to hear my stories. Of course, a new venture like this is utterly time-consuming and I don’t have as much time as I’m used to focus on what we eat at home. So, what do you do when you get home late – sans the expected leftovers – to find nothing but a bunch of carrots and a tin of borlotti beans in your pantry? Well, I made this gorgeous little salad which was all the more flavoursome for its lack of supporting ingredients.

Roast Carrot Salad

Ingredients

500g baby carrots (mine were of the heritage variety), sliced in half
400g can of borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to your taste
20g fresh flat leaf parsley
Pinch of sumac

For the dressing:
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp excellent honey
Juice of half a lemon (cut the remaining lemon into wedges for serving)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to your taste

How I make it

Heat an oven to 200C.

Trim the carrots, place them in a bowl and toss with 1 tbsp of olive oil, the garlic and salt and pepper to your taste.

Tumble the contents of the bowl onto a baking tray and roast them in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until they are soft and caramelised.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining the ingredients together adjusting the ingredients to your taste.

A few minutes before the carrots are cooked, add the borlotti beans to the tray and return it to the oven for a couple of minutes to warm them through.

Transfer the vegetables to a pretty serving dish, add the dressing, a scattering of parsley, a pinch of sumac and the lemon wedges. You could also add a jaunty dollop of Greek yoghurt if you wish.

Serve immediately with warm crusty bread and a chilled glass of wine.

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