To achieve the most delicious roasted carrots, it’s essential to use a very hot oven. This way, they can develop a beautiful, golden-brown exterior while simultaneously becoming sweet and tender on the inside. After all, nobody desires insipid, pale baked carrots that resemble they’ve been simply boiled!
Great Roasted Carrots
I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll emphasize it once more – the easiest method to instantly elevate the flavor of any vegetable is through roasting. The oven has the remarkable ability to completely transform plain vegetables, enhancing their inherent taste, coaxing out hidden sugars for caramelization, and imbuing them with color as their exteriors turn golden. As we all know, color equates to flavor!
Carrots provide a fantastic illustration of the enchanting alchemy that occurs during roasting. While raw carrots certainly have their place in the culinary world with their crisp freshness, they simply cannot compare to a mound of freshly roasted carrots, possessing sweetness and tenderness within, adorned with those enticing caramelized edges!
What you need for Roasted Carrots
To achieve outstanding roasted carrots, all you require are carrots, preferably olive oil, salt, and pepper. You’ll find yourself indulging straight from the baking tray!
However, I’ve taken it a step further by introducing garlic for an extra burst of flavor. I wanted to demonstrate how to incorporate it midway through the cooking process to prevent the formation of small burnt garlic pieces on the carrots. The same approach applies when using ginger and dried herbs.
How to roast carrots
Begin by peeling the carrots and then cutting them into uniformly sized chunks. Coat them with oil, salt, and pepper, and proceed to roast them for 30 minutes at 220°C/430°F, making sure to flip them halfway through the cooking time.
If you opt for the garlic addition, introduce it when you flip the carrots. This method yields delightful, golden bits of garlic instead of the undesirable bitterness of burnt garlic. The key to success here lies in roasting at a high temperature, which imparts a delightful color to the carrots, enhancing their flavor. Many recipes employ lower temperatures that will indeed cook the carrots adequately, but they won’t achieve the desirable browning effect. Moreover, if left in the oven longer, they risk overcooking and developing a wrinkled, less appealing texture.
For best results, cut the carrots into slightly larger chunks to prevent them from cooking too rapidly, which could result in excessive softening before achieving the desired browning.
PRO TIP: If you choose to use frozen carrots (thawed), they will work acceptably, but they may not brown as beautifully due to their higher water content.
How to serve roasted carrots
The most straightforward way to enjoy this dish is as a side – simply heap it into a bowl and serve it alongside the main course. Refer below for some serving suggestions.
To elevate it into a main course, a wonderful option is to transform it into a salad by drizzling on some Tahini Sauce and sprinkling a handful of almonds or pine nuts and some fresh coriander/cilantro – akin to the style of Ottolenghi! Alternatively, you can enhance it with a generous dollop of lemon yogurt. I’ve included these ideas in the recipe notes for your convenience.
What goes well with roasted carrots
Roasted carrots complement a wide range of proteins, including chicken, pork, lamb, beef, and seafood.
Personally, I adore serving them with roasts. However, since I have only one oven, I opt for roasted carrots as a side when the roast can stay warm for the 30 minutes it takes to roast the carrots without losing its freshness. This works beautifully for roasts such as the following:
In particular, I prefer to serve roast chicken straight from the oven, so roasted carrots don’t typically accompany chicken. While it’s possible to roast the carrots in the oven simultaneously, it’s essential to acknowledge that the more items you have in the oven, the longer it may take for everything to cook (a variable you’ll need to manage). Additionally, items on the lower shelf might not brown as nicely.
However, don’t limit yourself to roasts alone! Roasted Carrots also make for a fantastic and quick side dish for those busy midweek meals. Here are a few suggestions:
Now, I’d love to hear from you – what are your preferred flavorings for roasted carrots? Do you enjoy them plain, with garlic, parmesan, lemon, herbs, or something else entirely? Feel free to share your creative ideas!