Oh Spring Carrot “Pasta” with Herbs and Hazelnuts, how do I love thee. Let me count the ways:
- You’re ready in minutes and completely grain-free; all that beta carotene really balances my Qi.
- You’re beautiful and bright, with a pleasant little bite
- You’re elegant and delicate, mounded high on a plate; you’d cost $19 in a restaurant, but to make you’re less than $8.
Okay…Elizabeth Barrett Browning is probably turning over in her grave right now. That’s got to be some of the worst meter ever put to page! Thankfully, it doesn’t come close to describing all the merits of this recipe, which – in sharp contrast to my poetry – is actually really good. (Not that you probably trust my judgment right now…) But seriously, this is one of those shockingly simple recipes that tastes and looks far more complex than it really is. There is some (dare I say poetic?) quality that makes this entirely vegan pasta dish taste like it has oodles of butter in it – a richness, a depth, that will keep you twirling those pretty orange ribbons around your fork bite after bite. Spoiler alert: it’s definitely the hazelnuts.
So yes – those hazelnuts. When toasted just right, and then sautéed briefly in olive oil with fresh herbs and just the right amount of sea salt, they really transform this pasta into something rich, luscious, and buttery. Magic! But don’t take my word for it – try it yourself. Maybe it’ll inspire some poetry.
A couple notes about the recipe:
-To get wide, flat noodles as shown in the picture, use a vegetable peeler (not spiralizer) to make your noodles. (I personally prefer the taste and texture of flat carrot noodles to spiralized ones for this recipe, as they come out so tender and delicious this way.) Simply peel the carrots, discard the peels, and then keep peeling! This will leave some carrot “bones,” of course, which can be dipped into last week’s chestnut hummus. To get the proper ribbon yield, start with about 20.5 ounces of carrots.
-This recipe will serve two as a light spring dinner or lunch. If you are very hungry, I’d suggest serving it with a more filling (and protein-packed) appetizer or side.
-If you aren’t vegan, sprinkling the pasta with a good quality pecorino romano is not the worst idea, though it’s delicious both ways.
Spring Carrot “Pasta” with Herbs and Hazelnuts
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cups firmly – packed carrot ribbons (done with a vegetable peeler, see note)
- ¼ teaspoon, plus an extra couple sprinkles celtic sea salt
- ¼ cup chopped chives
- ¼ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts (toasting instructions below)
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 or 6 minutes, until carrots are tender and cooked through, but not soggy. They will shrink down quite a bit. When nicely cooked, sprinkle with the salt. Then add the herbs and hazelnuts and cook about 1 minute more.
Serve immediately, with extra toasted hazelnuts and parsley to garnish, if desired.
Hazelnut Prepping Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the hazelnuts out on a sheet tray and roast for 10-15 minutes, until fragrant and skinable. Rub the hazelnuts between your fingers to get the skins off – you may have to wrap them in a towel and let them steam briefly to make this easier. Let the hazelnuts cool, then pulse them in the bowl of your food processor until nicely chopped, or finely chop them by hand.
Note: I suggest toasting at least 1/3 cup of hazelnuts to get your ¼ cup chopped. This will yield more than you need; however, some of the hazelnuts might stubbornly refuse to be skinned and this will give you some wiggle room, plus the option of sprinkling more toasted hazelnut over completed plates for garnish.