Welcome back to budget bites. As we continue to see food prices climb, it might feel like a challenge to eat an abundance of veg while keeping within a budget. But before you go and throw away your healthy-eating goals, let’s shed some light on a vegetable that’s both budget-friendly and incredibly nutritious – cue the humble carrot.
Carrots are one of the most abundant vegetables produced in New Zealand and are available year-round. Packed with essential nutrients, like vitamin A, C, and K, along with a healthy dose of dietary fibre. More than just a vessel for hummus, carrots can make impressive side dishes, creamy sauces or the star of the show in your next salad.
Creamy vegan carrot and miso pasta with crispy breadcrumbs
The perfect pasta to have up your sleeve to cook for any vegan friends or if you want to include more plant-based meals into your diet.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, sliced into small wedges
3 medium carrots, cut into small rounds
3 garlic cloves, crushed
½ cup cashews
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp miso paste
1 cup vegetable stock
350g small-shaped pasta, we used bowties
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, ready to cook the pasta.
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan or saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper. Let cook for 10 minutes or until everything starts to soften.
Add the cashews, dijon mustard, miso paste and stock; bring to a boil before reducing to a gentle simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes.
Cool for a few minutes before adding it to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta until al dente.
While the pasta and sauce are cooking, prepare the breadcrumbs. Add a little olive oil to a small fry pan over medium heat, add the breadcrumbs and toast until golden brown. Remove from the heat and stir through the parsley; season with salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta (reserving ½ cup of pasta water), then add the pasta back into the pot; pour over the creamy carrot, and miso sauce. Slowly add the pasta water until you get it to the desired consistency – we used a little more than ¼ cup.
Divide the pasta into four bowls and top with a generous sprinkling of the crispy breadcrumbs.
Moroccan-inspired carrot and quinoa salad
Serves 4, as a side
A touch of ginger and a few spices are added to a simple lemon-dijon vinaigrette, adding warmth to this easy carrot salad.
½ cup quinoa
3 carrots, julienned or grated
⅓ sunflower seeds, toasted
¼ cup raisins
½ cup mint
½ cup coriander
¼ cup olive oil
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp ginger, finely grated
1 tsp maple syrup
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp chilli flakes
Pinch salt and pepper
Cook the quinoa as per the packet instructions. Once cooked, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool.
Add the grated carrot, sunflower seeds, raisins, mint and coriander to a large salad bowl.
To make the dressing: Add all of the ingredients to a glass jar and shake well to combine; set aside.
Add the cooled quinoa to the carrot mixture, then pour over the dressing and toss well to combine.