Recipe/ Vegetarian

Sweet Roasted Carrots with Kale Pesto & Spiced Greek Yogurt

I’m all dried up.

Sweet Roasted Carrots with Kale Pesto & Spiced Greek Yogurt -

Or at least the community gardens are anyhow. I’m fine – well hydrated, appropriately lubricated (we’re talking bourbon, right?) and not one day older than 34. Actually, I’m 107 days older than 34 but you know what I mean. I’m all good. Healthy. Happy. Young(ish). Satisfied.

Outside though the ground is stiff (hehe, “stiff”), the trees are bare and it doesn’t get light until I’ve already been up and hard at work for at least 2 hours. Err, did I say hard at work? I meant at work.

Sweet Roasted Carrots with Kale Pesto & Spiced Greek Yogurt -

I know for a lot of us, January is a time for reflection and renewal. A new year, new goals, new you. Right? But for me it’s also a respite. An opportunity to crawl into over-sized jammies, underneath the blanket my Grandmother knitted when I was just a baby and watch more television than I typically would recommend to anyone. Luckily the blanket is regular human size, not fitted for an infant. Or I’d be huddling underneath a napkin. And no one wants to see that.

Fresh Carrots -

It’s a chance to hibernate. Early bed times. Late awakenings… At least on Saturday before I chow down on pancakes and enjoy the newest issue of Bon Appetit or Saveur and catch up on my blog reading. And an excuse to gain 5 pounds without remorse because no one can see it underneath all the layers of clothing that Winter (and a weekly stack of pancakes) brings.

I guess the garden is doing the same thing: Laying dormant, in wait, for the warmth of Spring. Their arms bare save for a few adventurous leaves and leftover – albeit frozen – figs. The community gardens look dead but they’re just saving energy so that come Spring and Summer, they’ll be able to provide us with bountiful stalks of crisp red rhubarb, crisp asparagus, curly tendrils of garlic scapes, tender radishes, and eventually vine fresh tomatoes, juicy cherries, succulent blueberries, gorgeous strawberries, grilled peaches, and pop-a-licious corn on the cob.

Vancouver Community Gardens - Kitsilano -

I’m fortunate enough to live in Vancouver so it never gets much below 5 degrees Celsius (40 F) in the Winter. But even here, where we’re still able to enjoy cold weather vegetables like kale and carrots and leeks and turnips and Asian greens, there isn’t a lot of variety at this time of year. And let’s be honest, there are only so many ways you can “enjoy” a turnip.

Though plenty of you, I have seen on the Instagrams, have access to just-picked oranges and avocados and tomatoes and all kinds of warm weather bearing fruit.


Hence the reason I’m dreaming of rhubarb, asparagus, garlic scapes, radishes, tomatoes, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches and corn on the cob.

Sweet Roasted Carrots with Kale Pesto & Spiced Greek Yogurt -

All in good time, my friends. All in good time.

And in the meantime, there’s always blankets. And pancakes. And cellared root vegetables. Like carrots. Nay, roasted carrots.

Now I’m not exactly the biggest fan of carrots in general. In fact, they’re right up there with sweet potatoes for me. But it’s pretty much a universal fact that if you roast a vegetable on a super high temperature with just a bit of good quality olive oil and some flaky sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, it’s going to be amazing. And these carrots, were.

Sweet Roasted Carrots with Kale Pesto & Spiced Greek Yogurt -

Nutritious. Beautiful. Seasonal. Supremely delicious. And all ready within 30 minutes.

A lot of my recipes tend to take closer to an hour – an unfortunate externality that comes with making dinner from scratch with real, unprocessed ingredients. But these bad boys, paired with some spiced Greek yogurt and a little kale pesto is a dinner fit for any vegetarian, carnivore or omnivore you can throw it at.

…Please don’t throw it at anyone.

In fact, it comes together so quickly I often make it for lunch. It also happens to be gluten-free and paleo friendly for those of you who care. For those of us who don’t, then never matter – just enjoy.

Sweet Roasted Carrots with Kale Pesto & Spiced Greek Yogurt




Yield 4 servings


For the Carrots:

  • 2 or 3 Large handfuls of carrots (think thinner and smaller for even cooking - though if you only have giant ones, chop em up into uniform sized 1" pieces), greens mostly removed.
  • Good quality extra virgin olive oil.
  • Coarse sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper.
  • To serve, fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano, thinly shaved.

For the Pesto:

  • 1 Big handful of kale.
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and quartered.
  • 1/2 C toasted pecans.
  • 1/2 C grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Zest of 1 lemon.
  • 1/4 Good quality olive oil.
  • Coarse sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper.

For the Yogurt:

  • A mixture of spices - dash of coriander seeds, ground cumin, ground fennel, red pepper flakes, yellow or red curry powder, smoked paprika, salt.
  • Juice of 1 lemon (approx 1 Tbsp).
  • 2 C Greek yogurt.


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees F. on a rimmed baking tray, toss the carrots and olive oil with a nice helping of salt and pepper. Toss well to coat. Place in oven and roast for 25 - 30 minutes or until tender and caramelized. Shake the pan every 7-10 minutes to ensure even cooking and colouring.
  2. As the carrots cook, make the pesto and yogurt.
  3. Throw all the ingredients for the pesto into a food processor. You may need to add the kale by handfuls as it breaks down, depending on the size of your bowl. Once everything is all smushed up, look and taste. It should be wet but not runny. Add more olive oil or salt and pepper if necessary for flavor and consistency. Set aside.
  4. In a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder), bash together the spices until fragrant. Add the lemon juice. Bash a couple more times to combine. In a medium sized bowl, combine the yogurt with the spice/lemon mixture.
  5. Pile the yogurt, carrots and pesto on a plate, drizzle with more olive oil if desired along with some shaved Parmesan. Eat.


When making simple dishes like this, really do buy or grow or barter for the best you can afford - there's no where for bad olive oil or rancid nuts to hide.The brilliance of this dish is you can use whatever you have on hand - no carrots? Use squash or even onions. No pecans? Use walnuts or almonds. No fresh parm? Use any other grainy, hard salty cheese. Don't have a particular spice? Dig around and use what you have - think warm, fragrant and colourful. Awesome, right?


Are you hibernating right now? What are you dreaming of? What are you loving eating? How do you cook your carrots? Other vegetables? What keeps you warm at night (hopefully not a napkin)? How long does it take you to cook dinner? Are you drinking enough water? Tell me below – spill it!



  • Emily @ Recipes to Nourish
    January 21, 2015 at 9:27 AM

    Wow this sounds delicious! Those carrots are beautiful and the pesto … yes please! What an awesome garden! I loved those photos. I bet it’s going to look amazing in Spring and Summer. Loved all of those seasonal recipes you included too, thanks for linking to my asparagus post xo Pinning 🙂
    Emily @ Recipes to Nourish recently published…Lemon & Honey Frozen YogurtMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      January 22, 2015 at 10:51 AM

      Thank you Emily! The garden is so beautiful, even in Winter right?? Too bad our railway is coming in and clear cutting all those beautiful community gardens. They’re throwing a hissy fit about the space even though it hasn’t been used in decades and so they’re bulldozing everything. Such bullshit. We’re fighting them but not sure how well that will work out for us. I wanted to get record on the blog of them for when they’re gone. So sad.

      PS. Happy to include your post!! xo You make delicious food!!

  • Becky
    January 21, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    Mmmmmm, carrots. We are HUGE fans of carrots here. We roast them, slip them into pretty much everything imaginable (chili!), ferment them, pickle them (of course), eat them raw with lunch or as an after school snack (just the girl) and feature them in birthday cake with raisins and cream cheese icing.

    Last night, the girl declared she was ‘tired’ of movies. I have no idea what we’re going to do for the rest of winter if we’ve already played that card out. Please send ideas.
    Becky recently published…Branching out with success.My Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      January 22, 2015 at 10:56 AM

      hahahahahahaha… Ummmm… Board games? I have a giant Jenga game you can use. Or…. get a pint sized mason jar and start filling it with activities, goals, etc… and then you can pluck one out and save money to do it. I’m doing that right now. OR…. play really, really complicated games of hide and seek. Or man! I dunno. I watch a lot of movies in Winter. haha
      Kristy Gardner recently published…Sweet Roasted Carrots with Kale Pesto & Spiced Greek YogurtMy Profile

  • Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie)
    January 21, 2015 at 1:32 PM

    These actually look quite good…even if carrots aren’t a favorite…but they are for me, so ‘nuf said:) Of course hibernating, like most folks in the winter unless you live in Hawaii, or south of the equator:) Like you, looking forward to warm weather food already!
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) recently published…Opinion… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      January 22, 2015 at 10:57 AM

      I almost want to move to Hawaii or South of the equator Jacqueline but I’m just enjoying watching movies and getting fat. haha

  • Tara
    January 21, 2015 at 4:38 PM

    I, too, am not a huge fan of carrots (cooked at least- raw carrots were the only veggie I’d eat as a kid) but I agree that roasting veggies is always the way to go. Roasted broccoli is probably my favorite. Or Brussels. Actually, don’t make me choose. Throw in some Parm cheese and nuts though, and I’m always gonna be a happy gal.

    I’ve been living off soup (buffalo Gouda cauliflower, good old-fashioned veggie, and broccoli cheddar have been some of my latest slurpings), green smoothies, and oatmeal. And coffee. Always lots of good coffee.

    • Kristy Gardner
      January 22, 2015 at 10:58 AM

      I’m so glad I’m not alone Tara! High five for us carrot non-believers. I DO love brussels though. Any way, any time. Except boiled to a pulp. Yucky. Roasted though for sure.

      PS. Buffalo Gouda Cauliflower soup??? Can I come over?

  • Sharon
    January 22, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    So perfectly said! I also am a strong believer in the comfort of Winter. 🙂 And you were right about those carrots. Beautiful.
    Sharon recently published…Smoked Almonds – Vegan & Gluten FreeMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      January 22, 2015 at 10:59 AM

      Aw thanks Sharon! I appreciate it – thank you for taking a few moments to stop by and say hi.

      PS. Now go back to hibernating 😉 I am.

  • ceecee
    January 23, 2015 at 8:52 AM

    I’ve not heard of kale pesto before – great idea! And roasted root veggies are one of my fave meals!

    • Kristy Gardner
      February 15, 2015 at 9:27 AM

      Thank you ceecee! I totally agree – any vegetable roasted = good by me.

  • Leah @ love me, feed me
    January 23, 2015 at 9:56 AM

    All of these photos are so gorgeous and this sounds SO GOOD! I’m a sucker for roasted veggies.
    Just so you know, you’re my newest food photography crush, hope that’s not too weird hahah!
    Leah @ love me, feed me recently published…Classic Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      February 15, 2015 at 9:28 AM

      Oh Leah – you and me both. Roast any vegetable – or anything – and it’s phenomenal.

      PS. Crush away. I’m totally gonna stalk you on the instagrams 😉

  • Melissa
    January 23, 2015 at 3:53 PM

    growing up I would only eat carrots raw with nothing on them. Hated them cooked (my mom’s preferred way was boiled to a mushy consistency – gross) or with any kind of sauce or dip. I have since discovered that roasted carrots are one of my favouritest things. Yours look delicious!
    Melissa recently published…Food Photography And Styling Inspiration From the Print WorldMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      February 15, 2015 at 9:30 AM

      hahahahahahahhaa I think that’s something of our parents era, isn’t it Melissa?

      PS. Hope you’re keeping warm today! I saw in Toronto it was -40 with the wind chill. Brr. I’ll go sit on the beach for you today.

  • jess meddows
    January 23, 2015 at 8:18 PM

    I know the gardens look dead, but the photos of them are just gorgeous. I love a good pesto (though, I have to make my own sans cheese!), and I love the kale here instead of basil. Fantastic 😀
    jess meddows recently published…Ruined Castle Blue MountainsMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      February 15, 2015 at 9:31 AM

      Thanks Jess! They have an interesting pink hue to them, don’t they? I feel like that’s the Spring just waiting to burst out!

      What do you put in your pesto without cheese? Do you miss it? Replace it with anything? Tell me more.

  • Katie (The Muffin Myth)
    January 24, 2015 at 12:02 AM

    Oh, those photos made me so homesick for Vancouver! I was born and raised not far from the Arbutus corridor where those train tracks are, and yes, it’s such a shame that the railway is making a stink over the gardens. I now live in Stockholm, Sweden, and winter in Vancouver seems like a lush green (and incredibly wet) paradise! I just so happen to have a batch of kale pesto stashed away in my freezer, and there are carrots handy, so I know what’s on the menu for dinner tonight. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    • Kristy Gardner
      February 15, 2015 at 9:32 AM

      Aw Katie! I can empathize. 2 years in Toronto and whenever I’d see photos or video of Vancouver I’d get so sad. That being said, I’ve heard great things about Stockholm. What a big move!

      I hope you enjoyed your dinner!

  • Jennifer Andrews
    January 24, 2015 at 7:23 AM

    I’ve always been neutral on carrots, but the way you serve them here with the pesto and greek yogurt make an otherwise humble vegetable quite special. Thanks for sharing!
    Jennifer Andrews recently published…Healthy food prep tips: Winter editionMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      February 15, 2015 at 9:33 AM

      I’m glad I’m not the only one Jennifer. Honestly, before this dish I was always like “meh. Carrots”. This has officially changed my mind. I eat it for lunch at least 2X a week now. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to say hello 🙂 xo!

  • Cara's Healthy Cravings
    January 24, 2015 at 3:26 PM

    What a stunning dish! Anyone would be lucky to receive this as an appetizer/ sidedish. I will Pin so I don’t forget to use it. Thanks!

    • Kristy Gardner
      February 15, 2015 at 9:33 AM

      Thank you Cara! I appreciate it (and you) – happy Sunday!

  • Kirsten
    January 25, 2015 at 7:33 AM

    I lived in Hawaii and the relentless sunshine got to me. I craved rainy days. I suppose my body needs more defined seasons (and yes, there are seasons in Hawaii–the trades don’t blow all year round).
    I’ve got arugula pesto in the freezer, but what most excites me is this spiced yogurt.
    Kirsten recently published…Baked Artichoke and Arugula DipMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      February 15, 2015 at 9:34 AM

      Did I know you lived in Hawaii Kirsten? That’s awesome. Did you ever learn how to surf? I was there once – when I was little. Or a teenager. Same diff. Drove up with my parents to the North end of the island and marveled at the amazing waves and surfers. I thought I’d be one one day. And then realized I lived in the middle of the prairies. haha

      PS. Spiced yogurt is the shit.

  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets
    January 25, 2015 at 3:59 PM

    I’m 100% hibernating. I spent yesterday in front of the fire, under a blanket and two cats, while watching The Color Purple. If that doesn’t say hibernating female, I don’t know what does.

    I love this recipe. You can dream of Spring and I’ll envision this in the meantime.

    • Kristy Gardner
      February 15, 2015 at 9:36 AM

      I haven’t seen that movie in years Meghan. I remember loving it as a child. I DO know I like blankets and fires and animals though so I can totally envision the glory of your day. I must do this soon too.

      ps. last weekend i re-watched the entire season 5 of breaking bad. not quite the same but pretty damn close. my ass hurt by the end of it.

  • France@ Restless Palate
    January 27, 2015 at 9:26 AM

    Frick that looks amazing. That’s my kind of lunch!

    • Kristy Gardner
      February 15, 2015 at 9:36 AM

      frick. you look amazing 😉 xo!

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    January 28, 2015 at 7:33 AM

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  • Kristen @ The Endless Meal
    March 29, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    These look totally amazeballs! Pinned!!
    Kristen @ The Endless Meal recently published…Coconut Milk Braised ChickenMy Profile