Spicy-Crusted Carrots with Harissa Yogurt

(from Bon Appetite March 2014) Sometimes Bon Appetite just hits the nail-on-the-head. This recipe is one of those times. These carrots are absolutely delicious and really easy to make.

For some reason I made them with the Chicken-pot-pie which in hindsight is curious because they are way too sophisticated for that down-home comfort food kind of thing. Nonetheless that’s what I did. This is a really good time of year to make these because the grocery stores and farmers’ markets are full of beautiful, colorful, youthful, tender carrots.

Keep some of the tops on for prettiness. So good.

Spice-Crusted Carrots with Harissa Yogurt

Spicy carrots


2 pounds small carrots, scrubbed, tops trimmed to that the green looks pretty

Kosher salt

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp mustard powder (use a nice kind if you can find it)

1 tsp hot smoked Spanish paprika. If you can’t find something this specific just use smoked paprika which you can find everywhere

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground coriander

4 Tbsp vegetable oil (divided) – don’t use grapeseed it can’t take the high heat freshly ground black pepper

½ cup plain Greek yogurt or another kind of yogurt. I make my yogurt and it’s NOT a Greek yogurt culture but it’s delicious, easy to make, and I think you should start making your own yogurt – better for you and all – and it was perfect in this recipe)

1 Tbsp harissa paste or maybe it’s called harissa sauce at your local shop

2 tsp chopped fresh thyme plus more for presentation

½ tsp finely grated lemon zest plus more for presentation

lemon wedges for serving


raw carrots

Cook carrots in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender maybe 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

Using your fingers or a paper towel rub the skins off and pat dry.

cooked peeled

Mix sugar, mustard powder, paprika, cumin and coriander in a small bowl. In another bowl toss the carrots with 1 Tbsp oil. Sprinkle in the spice mixture, season with salt and pepper and toss with your hands to coat the carrots.

Heat the remaining 3 Tbsp oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet – cast iron is wonderful for this recipe. Working in batches, cook the carrots, turning occasionally, until deep brown all over – maybe 5 or 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

cooking carrots

Arrange the carrots on the platter that you will serve them on. Probably Luna Garcia (lunagarcia.com)

In the meantime, put the yogurt in a small bowl – once again – probably Luna Garcia (lunagarcia.com); season with salt and pepper. Add harissa paste, 2 tsp thyme, and ½ tsp lemon zest and gently swirl ingredients stopping before the yogurt turns pink. You want it to look swirly.

Close up

I put the harissa yogurt into a nice small bowl on the same platter as the carrots and serve. Alternatively you can do individual appetizer size servings and put a dollop of harissa yogurt on each plate and top with carrots, more thyme, and more lemon zest. Serve with lemon wedges.

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