I started thinking about a vegetable popsicle whilst enjoying the sunshine and observing the absolute fascination that small children seem to have with ice cream (or ‘nice cream’ as A-L likes to call it). In the eyes of my child, any kind of summer activity warrants an ice cream. The exertions of splashing around in water or ascending a climbing frame definitely merit an ice cream. Walking in the vicinity of an ice cream seller also deserves an ice cream. In fact, the simple presence of the sunshine on any given day necessitates an ice cream (I fear that this attitude has stemmed from recent adventures with Nonna where it was not uncommon to have two ice creams a day).
I thought I’d try to work with this enthusiasm for ice cream. Herein enters the idea of vegetables that look like ice cream/ lollies. First up: the carrot popsicle (aka braised carrots on a stick, coated with your favourite healthy sprinkles). Despite being a vegetable, these popsicles are sweet, sticky and really tasty. They are quick to prepare and can be served as snacks or as a side vegetable to a main meal (we served them alongside Lentil Bolagnese.).
So, what was the verdict from my little ice cream fanatic? I presented a selection of popsicles pinned into a rice cake. A-L was definitely intrigued and immediately wanted to play with them and share them with her favourite dolls (‘One for Fritzli….One for Chimpanzee’) . She then gave the popsicle a lick (see pics below). I think she was a bit surprised by the sesame seeds but then went on to eat the whole carrot stick. She wasn’t such a fan of the carrot topped with ground linseed (it did give a grainy texture in the mouth) and I would advise to make smaller popsicles (baby carrots would be ideal). But, I think these are a winner. My husband was a big fan ( they are great for adults and taste like carrots should taste: flavoursome and sweet). I also wonder if these popsicles might make carrots a bit more appealing to my nephew who isn’t so keen to eat his veggies (who I created these Multi-Veg Muffins for)…
- A bunch of new season carrots (the smaller, the better) (around 500g)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 100ml water
- 1/2 tsp low salt vegetable bouillon powder/ stock cube
- 1/2 to 1 tsp cumin (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped (optional)
- healthy sprinkles such as sesame seeds, ground linseed or chia seeds (optional)
- Prepare the carrots: peel and cut them in half and then slice them into appropriate popsicle sized pieces/ sticks.
- Put the oil, water, bouillon powder, cumin and garlic (if using) into a large pan. Mix together and then add in the carrots. Try to coat the carrots with the oil mixture.
- Cover the pan with a lid and bring to a gentle simmer for around 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of your carrot sticks). Check and give the carrots an occasional stir. Add a bit more water if the carrots are drying out.
- After 15-20 minutes, the carrots should be cooked and coated in a glistening and tasty sauce (see pic).
- If using the braised carrots as an accompaniment to a larger meal, they can be served warm or cold. If making popsicles, leave the carrots to cool and then thread them onto a toothpick. Dip the end of the carrot in appropriate healthier sprinkles and serve to intrigued small people…