Crispy Smashed Carrots and Cauli Mash (Using Trader Joe’s Colorful Carrot Coins and Organic Rainbow Cauliflower)

close up of smashed carrots over cauliflower mash.

Sometimes Trader Joe’s products are ready to go out of the box (or bag), and certainly, Trader Joe’s Colorful Carrot Coins could be tossed in a pan and heated as per the instructions, and the Organic Rainbow Cauliflower could be steamed and eaten alongside the rest of your meal. With a little time and effort, these two products can be turned into a unique and colorful meal that’s crispy and creamy at the same time. A drizzle of the inventive Za’atar tahini feta dressing is included in this recipe (or some tahini dressing you have on hand), and this recipe takes on Mediterranean cuisine vibes.

I love developing recipes using Trader Joe’s products, for Club Trader Joe’s. It’s a perfect match, because my blog, Sofa Dinners, publishes creative recipes using healthy but interesting ingredients, and Trader Joe’s sells many ingredients well suited to such recipes. My recipes are simple and come together quickly, which I imagine Trader Joe’s shoppers appreciate.

platter of Trader Joe's colorful carrot coins, smash, roasted and served over mashed TJ's Organic Rainbow Cauliflower.

Inspiration for this Recipe

Getting one’s hands on different colors of carrots and cauliflower is not easy, so when I spotted TJ’s Colorful Carrot Coins and TJ’s Organic Rainbow Cauliflower, I was drawn into the opportunity to eat multi-colored vegetables! Pondering how to improve upon the packaged veggies, I thought how convenient to make a mash from frozen cauliflower, and how fun to take carrots and smash and toast them like I have with baby potatoes.


Method + Steps for this Recipe

  • Smashed Carrots – The defrosted carrots are placed on a sheet pan, roasted, then smashed, topped with a bit of olive oil and parmesan, and broiled to crispy perfection. The result is far more flavorful than smashed potatoes, and I can’t wait to prepare these again.
  • Mashed Cauliflower – in less than five minutes, the cauliflower is separated by color, and the two largest amounts are individually tossed in a pan with a tablespoon of butter, to cook, then are mashed (blender or food processor). See info box below regarding the different colors and why they are sorted before mashing.
  • Tahini Dressing – I highly recommend making this homemade dressing which is a unique blend of tahini with honey, feta (match made in heaven) and Za’atar seasoning. Any you don’t eat on this dish can be eaten as a dip, on another salad or sandwich topping. It won’t last long.
plate of multi-colored frozen cauliflower.

Cauli-Mash with Rainbow Cauliflower

If the TJ’s rainbow cauliflower was cooked and mashed altogether, the result would be brown (not pretty). And colored mashed cauliflower is fun, so in less than 5 minutes I sorted the colors. I mashed the purple, and I mixed the white and orange and mashed those. The small amount of green was steamed and used as a garnish!

Above: The tahini sauce comes together easily in a blender or food processor, but you could also whisk the ingredients together vigorously in a bowl, without using a machine. It’s not meant to be overly smooth, and has texture.

If you like this recipe, check out my other Tahini Sauce with Vietnamese Flavors, over on Sofa Dinners.

bit of crispy smashed carrots with cauliflower mash.

Crispy Smashed Carrots and Cauli Mash (Using Trader Joe’s Colorful Carrot Coins and Organic Rainbow Cauliflower)

With a little time and effort, these two products can be turned into a unique and colorful meal that’s crispy and creamy at the same time. A drizzle of Trader Joe’s tahini dressing you have on hand or the inventive Za’atar tahini feta dressing included in this recipe, and this recipe takes on Mediterranean cuisine vibes.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4


Crispy Smashed Carrots

  • 1 package TJ's Colorful Carrot Coins frozen
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or to taste
  • 1 tbsp parmesan or to taste

Mashed Cauliflower

  • 1 package TJ's Organic Rainbow Cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp butter

Tahini Sauce

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 3 oz feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 large red onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp Za'atar spice mix see notes


  • Easiest method is to defrost carrots and cauliflower in their packages in fridge overnight so they are not frozen when you are ready to cook.
  • Preheat oven to 425
  • Sort the cauliflower in a few bowls, by color. You will mash the purple and the orang, which you combine with the white. The small amounts of green can be used for garnish.

Make the Tahini Sauce

  • Place all ingredients in blender/processor to blend or whisk all vigorouslly together in a bowl if you don't have or don't wish to use an appliance. The sauce is meant to have texture so either method works.

Make the Smashed Carrots

  • Spread the carrot coins out on parchment on sheet pan. Place on top shelf in oven and roast for about 15 min. Move on to cauliflower while carrots roast.
  • Once the carrots are roasted (won't have browned at all, since they are full of so much water), take tray out, and turn oven to broil. Set tray down and use bottom of small glass to smash each carrot. They will flatten, and separate a bit, but you can keep them together mostly. Drizzle with olive oil and grated parm and return to oven to broil for about 5 minutes. Pull out when a bit crispy, but not overdone.

Make the Mashed Caulli

  • While the carrots are roasting, take one of the two colors of cauli and toss in pan for a few minutes with a tablespoon of butter. Since it is defrosted, it won't take long for them to heat up. transfer to blender and puree into a mash with some texture. Do the same for the 2nd amount of cauliflower.

Plate the dish

  • Serve with mash spread on plate, topped with crispy smashed carrots, and drizzled with the tahini sauce. Garnish with crumbled feta, za'atar spice mix and the green cauliflower broken into small pieces.


Za’atar Note: TJ’s usually sells this spice blend, but if not, you can substitute some sesame seeds, sumac, thyme and salt. It’s ok if you can’t include it in the tahini dressing.
Keyword mashed cauliflower, smashed carrots

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