Articles / You Say Tomato, I Say Carrot


You Say Tomato, I Say Carrot

Published January 9, 2023

Feeling inspired when you’re uninspired

I am not great with a CSA. I’m easily overwhelmed by it, some weeks I go out a bunch and don’t cook, sometimes I have to text Mark pictures of things to ask him what they are (and once I do that, there’s a good chance I’ll be too tired or intimidated to figure out how to cook said vegetable), etc. What happens a lot of the time, which I’m sure plenty of you are familiar with, is that the vegetables sit and become either barely salvageable or trash-bound.

One year, I made the mistake of getting a winter CSA. I like root vegetables, but don’t love them, so you can figure out how that went. 

So all this just means that I’ve committed to not getting a CSA and instead going to the farmers market as often as possible, even in the winter, when I’m ambivalent about the offerings. 

Cooking in the winter can feel less exciting, too. Over the holidays, though, Nick and Holden and I went to my dad’s, and he made the most glorious, simple root vegetables (from his CSA, of course), and it made me feel sort of like, ok, maybe winter veggies can be my thing!

So I went through the books and found some winter vegetable recipes that I found inspiring, that made me want to scrub some dang potatoes.  

Behold, and rejoice, below:

  • Chickpea and Carrot Salad with Warm Cumin Oil

  • Smoky Root Vegetable Soup

  • Beef Stew with Baked Potatoes

  • Beet and Lentil Burgers

Chickpea and Carrot Salad with Warm Cumin Oil

An uncommon warm salad you can easily customize: Grating the vegetables in a food processor, rather than chopping them as in the recipe, makes the salad more like a slaw. I like the teeny surprise of cumin seeds, but if you prefer a smooth dressing, pour the oil through a strainer into the bowl before serving. Home-cooked chickpeas are always excellent here, as are cannellini beans. And toasted pita wedges are the perfect accompaniment no matter what tweaks you make to the recipe.

Smoky Root Vegetable Soup

Call it a variation on minestrone, perfect for the colder months. The vegetables will take at least 1 hour to roast.

Beet and Lentil Burgers

Makes: 4-6 servings
Time: 50 minutes, plus at least 8 hours soaking time


  • 1 cup green or brown lentils

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 cup cooked brown basmati rice

  • 1⁄2 cup chopped onion

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 medium or 2 small beets (about 6 ounces), scrubbed and peeled

  • 4 whole wheat English muffins, split

  • 1⁄2 cup vegan mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard, or to taste


1. Put the lentils in a medium bowl with enough water to cover by 3 inches. Soak for at least 8 hours or up to 12; drain them well.

2. Heat the oven to 375°F and grease a rimmed baking sheet with the oil. Put the lentils, the rice, onion, fennel seeds, and dill in a food processor and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pulse until finely ground but not pureed. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. Grate the beets in the food processor using the shredding disk or on the largest holes of a box grater. Measure 1 packed cup (save any extra for another use) and add to the bowl with the rice mixture. Stir to combine, taste, and adjust the seasoning.

4. Gently shape the mixture into 4 to 6 patties about 1 inch thick. Put on the prepared baking sheet and bake, undisturbed, until the bottom is crisp and releases easily from the pan, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn and brown the other side and insert a metal skewer or thin-bladed knife to make sure the center is piping hot, another 5 to 10 minutes. Put the English muffins on another baking sheet, and put them in the oven to toast when the burgers are almost done; they’ll take 3 to 5 minutes (or just use a toaster).

5. Put the mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to combine, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more mustard if you like. When the burgers are ready, spread the mayonnaise mixture on the muffins, top with the burgers, and serve.

— Recipe from Dinner for Everyone: 100 Iconic Dishes Made 3 Ways — Easy, Vegan, or Perfect for Company