5 Easy Carrot Recipes That Taste Great
Nearly everyone has a bag of carrots in their fridge, yet the humble veggie rarely makes an appearance aside from the occasional salad addition. While carrots might seem ho-hum, they’re one of the healthiest foods you can put into your body. And it’s not just the vitamin A, which is great for eye health. Carrots are low in calories, with just 50 calories per sliced cup, and packed with fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K. Skip the bagged baby carrots because they’re just cuter, pricier versions of their larger siblings.
Now let’s talk flavor. Carrots have a naturally sweet taste that pairs perfectly with everything from meat to spices, making them one of the most versatile veggies around. They can also be used cooked or raw, so you can prepare a meal with carrots whether you have five minutes or 50. Try these five recipes to get started.
1. Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad
The Internet is swimming with this sweet and creamy combo, so it must be delicious. Most recipes have pretty lengthy ingredient lists, so we sought out something simpler with just as much flavor. Smitten Kitchen’s no-frills salad with roasted carrots contains just seven ingredients and keeps the process as minimal as possible. It’s also great warm, room temperature, or cold, so leftovers are great for tomorrow’s lunch.
The colors of this salad make it even more appealing, but the vibrant orange hue is good for more than aesthetics. In 2011 the British Journal of Nutrition published a 10-year study where researchers examined the link between different colored produce and heart disease. Fruits and veggies were divided into four categories: orange and yellow, purple and red, green, or white. The results indicated yellow and orange produce, particularly carrots, may be the most beneficial for warding off cardiovascular disease.
- 1 pound carrots, peeled or scrubbed well, and cut into 2-inch lengths
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
- Juice of ½ lemon
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss carrots with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cumin. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a sheet tray. Transfer to oven, and roast for 20 minutes, or until tender and outside has browned.
Arrange carrots on a plate or platter, and top with avocado slices. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and squeeze lemon juice over top. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed, and serve.
2. Angel Hair Pasta with Walnut-Carrot Sauce
Give pasta a new look with this carrot and walnut dish from Food Network. This recipe uses whole-grain pasta to cut down on calories and boost the fiber, plus the nuttier taste pairs wonderfully with the toasty walnuts and the sweet carrots and raisins. A little bit of pecorino cheese turns this into the ultimate sweet and savory dish that’s sure to put your sweetheart in the mood.
Good news, carrots can help you in the bedroom department as well. A 2013 study in Fertility and Sterility found a diet rich in beta-carotene, from vegetables like carrots and spinach, is associated with healthier sperm.
- Kosher salt
- 10 ounces whole-grain angel hair pasta
- 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup walnuts
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ½ cup grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese, plus more
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Directions: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook according to the label. Reserve 1½ cups of cooking water, then drain.
Meanwhile, combine carrots, walnuts, garlic, oregano, lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrot mixture and raisins. Cook, stirring frequently, until carrots soften and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add reserved cooking water, and bring to a simmer. Add pasta, ½ cup cheese, lemon juice, parsley, and salt to taste. Toss, then divide among bowls. Top with more cheese, and serve.
3. Carrot Salad with Honey-Lemon Dressing
Just because you’re short on time doesn’t mean you have to resort to takeout. Toss together this quick slaw from Eating Well, and serve it up with some sautéed chicken or pork for a much healthier and tastier meal. In addition to keeping the process fast, using raw carrots also helps retain vitamin C, which is vital for keeping your tissues and bones healthy. Since vitamin C deteriorates quickly when cooked, going with some raw preparations every now and again is a smart choice.
- 2 tablespoons walnut or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 small shallot, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 cup peeled and shredded celery root
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Directions: Whisk oil, lemon juice, honey, shallot, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to combine. Add carrots, celery root, raisins, and walnuts. Toss to combine, and serve.
4. Chicken and Carrot Stew
Don’t be fooled into thinking you should always eat your carrots in their crunchy state because, while some of the vitamin C is lost, certain nutrients in the veggie get a boost. Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry revealed antioxidant values in broccoli, zucchini, and carrots increased after cooking. This was particularly true for boiling.
With Bon Appétit’s hearty chicken stew, you’ll boost the antioxidant power of your carrots and end up with a delicious meal. Don’t let the cream in this recipe scare you away because it’s a pretty tame amount for four portions. The calorie count for a helping clocks in at just 429 calories, so dig in.
- 2 cups ¼-inch-thick rounds peeled carrots
- 1½ cups thinly sliced leeks, white and pale parts only
- 1¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Fresh thyme sprigs
Directions: Cook carrots in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water for 3 minutes. Add leeks, and cook until carrots are tender, about 3 minutes longer. Drain vegetables, and set aside.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Whisk flour, chopped thyme, and paprika in a medium bowl. Toss chicken in flour mixture to coat. Heat oil in a heavy, large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Add wine, and cook until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Scatter carrots and leeks over chicken. Add broth, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked, about 15 minutes. Add cream and mustard. Stir until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large shallow bowl. Serve garnished with parsley and thyme sprigs.
5. Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies
A classic carrot cake ranks on most people’s list of top desserts. Unfortunately, the treat is a lot less wholesome than the name implies thanks to monstrous portions and a generous heap of cream cheese frosting. Shrink the cake down to size with these waist-friendly cookies from Amy’s Healthy Baking. Maple syrup and cinnamon give the treats tons of flavor while oats and whole-wheat flour offer a good dose of fiber. These cookies make for one sweet finale.
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- ¾ cup whole-wheat or gluten-free flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¾ cup grated carrots
Directions: Combine oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to thoroughly combine. In another medium bowl, whisk the butter, egg, and vanilla to combine, then whisk in the syrup. Add the dry ingredients all at once, and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon just until incorporated. Gently fold in the grated carrots, cover dough with plastic wrap, then transfer to the fridge. Chill at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or grease with cooking spray.
Drop rounded spoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. You should end up with about 15 cookies. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cookies are set. Cool on baking sheet for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.