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Can A Parrot – Eat A Carrot & Cumin Dip?

Can a parrot
eat a carrot
standing on his head?
If I did that
my mum would send me
straight upstairs to bed.

Spike Milligan

Despite being a big fan of the inimitable Spike Milligan and his witty poems for kids and kids at heart, I’m not such a big fan of carrots. Nope, not a fan. No sir-ee. When I taste cooked carrots (before isolating them on my plate) there is a sense memory that sends be straight back to when I was three. I attended occasional kindy where they would serve some type of cooked veges as part of the lunch. As it was the late 1960’s, they were no doubt boiled to death so they probably weren’t selling themselves but the fact remains, to this day, I don’t like cooked carrots. You can fancy them up by roasting them with honey, baking them in hay or drizzling them with an exotic dressing but I’m afraid you’re no going tot convince me.

Know Your Enemy: Daucus Carota
So why is it then, that I eat fresh carrots and enjoy them? And why, do I like this roasted carrot dip? It’s obviously something to do with ‘taste’ but what? I was going to Google ‘taste’ but realised there’d be so many academic papers on the subject, I’d be overwhelmed. So, I Googled ‘why do I like raw carrots but hate cooked carrots?’ and what do you know, I found an article in the Guardian called ‘Raw carrots good, cooked carrots bad’. It appears I’m in good company. The answer to why I and others have very specific tastes for certain foods is ‘it’s complicated’. You can read the article but in short, we are all individuals and our food tastes reflect that.

Ingredients for Carrot Dip with roasted carrots, garlic & cumin seeds on a baking tray

As to the recipe, it’s from Suzanne Quintner. She’s a Brisbane local who owns a food wholesaling business that specialises in Mediterranean and North African products such a preserved lemon and chermoula. Standard fare now but 20 years ago, these ingredients would have been unheard of. To promote their use, Suzanne offered recipes on local ABC and this is where my mum heard this one. It is a family favourite, trotted out when catering for the masses or when we remember to buy extra carrots. Use it as a dip, spread or as part of a mezze plate. Like many of my recipes, this carrot dip freezes successfully and is great to freeze portions for weekday work lunches or for when you need a quick starter. It’s gluten and dairy free so is perfect for those with dietary requirements.

Roasted Carrot & Cumin Dip
(Suzanne Quintner)

Roasted Carrot Dip with cummin in a bowl with lavosh crackers


  • 1kg peeled carrots cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp cumin seed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3-5 tbsp tahini
  • 1-2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp harissa (optional)


  • Toss carrots in 2 tablespoons of oil and place on tray with garlic and salt and for 30 minutes at 185c. Add salt cumin seeds and continue roasting for another 20 minutes or until carrots are soft and cooked. Allow to cool.
  • Place carrots in a food processor and chop until almost smooth. Add last tablespoon of olive oil, tahini and lime juice. Add the harissa if you like some spice. Blend until smooth (some small chunks are OK). Adjust seasoning as necessary.
  • Place carrot dip in a bowl and serve with sturdy cracker bread or with chunks of fresh bread. Include a knife for spreading

Makes 2 large bowls

10 comments… add one
  • sherry from sherrys pickings January 23, 2016, 10:36 am

    interesting:) I am not sure that i feel anything much at all about carrots. they are just there like fingers and toes. i eat ’em raw or roasted or even boiled. but i can take them or leave them. your dip sounds …interesting. I bet i would like it.

    • Fiona Ryan February 3, 2016, 10:28 am

      I wish I felt nothing about carrots. Definitely a dip worth making Sherry.

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime January 23, 2016, 3:23 pm

    “It’s complicated”. Love it and the dip as well. I will eat carrots in any shape or form 😀

    • Fiona Ryan February 3, 2016, 10:29 am

      I will pop my share in the post to you today.

  • Glenda January 25, 2016, 2:12 am

    Fiona, I don’t like pumpkin but I like pumpkin soup – go figure 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan February 3, 2016, 10:30 am

      How interesting. But you gave me that great recipe for pumpkin loaf.

  • Francesca January 25, 2016, 8:06 am

    The commercial carrots I bought recently have all tasted like mould. I think its the length of storage that supermarkets are using. They carrots that look carrot like but taste awful. I guess I have been spoilt with home produce.
    Cooking them with toms of flavour, like in this lovely dip, could help them along.

    • Fiona Ryan February 3, 2016, 10:38 am

      And just to prove your point, I had a fresh carrot yesterday (quite a small one) and it was so woody. How long had that been sitting in cold store?

  • Pamela Hayward January 25, 2016, 5:13 pm

    Love roasting them and making them into a dip…have done something similiar with beetroot too…and pumpkin. Great to use up leftover veg and add chicken peas. Cumin is always a welcome addition too.

    • Fiona Ryan February 3, 2016, 10:42 am

      Beetroot – that’s got a bad rap hasn’t it? All of those soggy sandwiches at school. It’s reforming its reputation though. I like to do a beetroot hommus with chickpeas and (I’ll admit it), drained tinned beetroot.

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