No, I am not talking about Phil and I, although the thought crossed my mind…  It is actually a quote from my newest cookbook:

Have you tried roasted carrots and avocados together?
What a smashing pair!

I don’t think I ever thought of mixing carrots with avocados, but the other day a simple email with notification of a new post by Kelly arrived, and I dropped everything I was doing to check it out. She shared the recipe for a gorgeous quinoa concoction found in  “The Clever Cookbook.”  Cute name, almost as cute as the blog hosted by the author, Emilie: The Clever Carrot. I can see you’re smiling now, it’s impossible not to smile at the name. I need another cookbook as I need a third eye, but my will power for certain temptations is non-existent. I don’t even try to put up a fight anymore, just go to amazon and get the job done.  Ordering the Kindle version minimizes the amount of guilt, in case you are wondering how I deal with my weaknesses.

That night I laid in bed for a long time reading the book,  and could not wait to make this salad, because who could resist getting acquainted with a smashing pair? Less than 24 hours later the salad was part of our dinner, and it was a tremendous success!  I urge you to try it too. I modified the recipe a bit, but you can find Emilie’s original in her book,  which by the way is a total delight! You need to have it, so don’t even bother resisting.

Spice Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad

(adapted from The Clever Cookbook)
printed with permission from Emilie Raffa)

4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 heaped tsp Southwest spice blend (I used Penzey’s)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
a few yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1 ripe Hass avocado
Juice of ½ lemon
Pinch of salt
arugula leaves

Heat your oven to 425 ° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the carrots in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and sprinkle with Southwest spice, and a little salt. Toss well to coat. Spread the carrots out on your sheet pan. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are caramelized and tender. In the final 5 minutes, add the slivered almonds on top. Remove from the oven, add the tomatoes.  Give it a good stir. Allow the mixture to cool slightly while you dice the avocado and drizzle the pieces with lemon juice to prevent browning.

Add the avocados to the carrots, and toss gently to combine. Place the mixture on top of arugula leaves on a serving bowl, drizzle olive oil and some more lemon juice, adjust seasoning with salt. Toss very gently and serve at room temperature.


to print the recipe, click here



Comments: Talk about a delicious dinner! It’s not everyday that a salad draws enthusiastic compliments from my beloved husband. We both went crazy for this one, and Phil in particular thought that the grilled chicken was a perfect match, making the meal worthy of a fancy French style bistrot. On a slight tangent: the chicken was super simple.  I marinated boneless, skinless chicken thighs early in the morning in a mixture of yogurt,  a touch of olive oil, lemon juice, paprika and turmeric. A smidgen of agave nectar just because. When it was time for dinner, I scraped the marinade off, seasoned the meat with salt and pepper, and grilled until done. The combination of sweet roasted carrots, the hint of spice, and the creaminess of the avocado was irresistible!

The salad has enough substance to stand proud on a fully vegetarian menu. Maybe paired with a hearty pasta dish, or next to crostini with mushrooms and cheese?  Or you can skip the greens and use the smashing mixture over grains such as farro or quinoa. Your call.

Emilie, thank you for allowing me to publish your recipe…
I must say you are absolutely right, roasted carrots and avocados are “a smashing pair!”

Now, a little bit about the book…


The book is organized in a slightly unusual way. You won’t find chapters for Main Dishes, Appetizers, or even a particular kind of ingredient. Instead, her approach is to divide the book in strategies that make your life easier in the kitchen. For instance, the first chapter is called “Prep Ahead Vegetables”, and shows how if you invest a little time in prepping veggies they can help you out in many recipes. The chapter includes soups like 30 minute Broccoli and Feta Soup which immediately called my name.  The following chapter, “Back to Basics”  lists her “non-negotiable” items. Stuff that she always has around like toothpaste, chocolate, and the cell phone  (yeah, she is adorably witty). In that chapter, you’ll learn how to make her Triple Duty Chicken Stock, Basic Tomato Sauce, and Master Stir Fry Sauce. Well, you get the gist of it. A little investment of time to make batches of those, and cooking on a daily basis will be a breeze.   But my favorite chapter was one called “Process This.” Clever ways (it is a clever cookbook, after all) to use the food processor. I must try her Banana Cloud Cake included in the chapter, and the user-friendly No-Peel Butternut Squash Soup (sounds like a dream, right?).  Two other chapters that I was quite fond of: “Batch Cooked Grains” and “Freezer Marinades.” The Clever Cookbook is definitely one that will not sit collecting dust in your shelf.  If you are a busy person, with or without kids around, this book is a must-have. To order, follow this link. And while you are around the ordering process, go ahead and subscribe to Emilie’s blog too. I did, because I don’t want to miss her future culinary adventures…

Kelly, thanks for the heads up about Emilie’s cookbook and blog. Loved “meeting” her through you…


ONE YEAR AGO: Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

TWO YEARS AGO: Crispy Chickpea and Caper Spaghetti

THREE YEARS AGO: Spring has Sprung!

FOUR YEARS AGO: Chickpea and Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

FIVE YEARS AGO: Double Asparagus Delight

SIX YEARS AGO:  Sun-dried Tomato and Feta Cheese Torte



20 thoughts on “A SMASHING PAIR

  1. Have never had the nous to put these two together either, but now cannot wait to try. A lot of colour and body and unexperienced taste there . . . have to find out what goes into South-west seasoning for obvious reasons, but that too can be managed🙂 ! Also do like your chicken marinade: have not used paprika and turmeric together as a rule . . . Oh: ‘The Clever Carrot’ – must remember to visit my mailbox ere I go and click on a certain subscription methinks . . .


    • Emilie used Mexican spices – I love the Southwest blend from Penzey’s and here are the ingredients for you; Warm chili peppers with onion, garlic, pepper and cilantro, with a smoky hint of chipotle.

      the second time I made this salad (yes, it is that good!) I added only paprika and was excellent too – I think all you want is to add something to play with the sweetness of the carrots.


      • Thanks Sally – I guess I would have made a similar mix but may not have thought of the chipotle which is available but not much used here in Australia . . . the salad is on the menu around Easter . . .


  2. Ah this is the salad!😉 Certainly open to trying this one, although I’ve never been a fan of roasted carrots. They are too sweet for me. Perhaps with the avocado and the southwest spice blend they could work. The chicken sounds delicious too! I never make chicken enough. I like the idea of marinating it in yogurt though. As for the smashing pair…it certain applies to you and Phil!🙂


    • little secret: I did not know what “smashing” meant – so you see, an old dog is never too old to learn a new trick. I had to start using the word right away 😉

      I think you might like the carrots in this preparation because the sweetness is well balanced by everything else

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks delicious and I must try it the next time I get avocados. I have plucked two favorite recipes for our corned beef tonight I guess it will be a last minute decision between Sean Brock’s carrots braised in carrot juice and garlic roasted carrots. I am inclined to do the roasted with slightly cook and prep time.


  4. The salad sounds good, anything with roasted carrots sounds good to me!! And interesting to read your review of Emilie’s book, as a follower of her blog, I am already a fan🙂
    But I do think that the ‘smashing pair’ is really you guys xx


  5. What a delicious meal you’ve put together here Sally – I agree, French Bistro style; I would love to be enjoying it en plein air with you. You are so kind and generous to not only feature Emilie’s salad but also put together a review of her new cookbook. I’m so glad you’re enjoying your latest discovery and this roasted carrot and avocado combination sounds like an utter winner; I must try it myself. Wishing you a fun and relaxing weekend – we are trying to decide between spring skiing and picnicking by the ocean… (speaking of smashing pairs… x).


    • Oh, do I feel sorry for you! Having to decide between spring skiing and picnicking by the ocean…. (allow me to grab my Kleenex now, I don’t think I can take it) 😉

      hope you had a FANTASTIC weekend!


  6. Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful! I absolutely adore what you’ve done here. I think I’m going to try it your way next time with the tomatoes. I can only imagine the delicious flavor they add. This was a lovely post Sally, thank you very much. You too kind🙂 xx


    • Oh, wonderful to “see” you here! Glad you liked the post and did not get mad at me for the changes – a few years ago I had a bad experience with pine nuts. I stored them in the freezer but still I munched on one and it was rancid – talk about a horrible taste! Anyway, ever since then I have avoided them. I need to get over, though…

      thanks again for the permission to blog on your recipe!


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