The best way to make roasted carrots is in a very hot oven so they brown beautifully in the same time it cooks for the inside to become sweet and tender. Because nobody wants bland, colourless baked carrots that look like they’ve been boiled!
Cooked this way, you need nothing more than salt and pepper, though a hit of garlic never hurts. I’ve also included a list of extra flavouring suggestions in the recipe – parmesan, breadcrumbs, ginger, lemon, spiced!
Great Roasted Carrots
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the simplest way to add instant flavour to any vegetable is to roast it. The oven completely transform bland vegetables, intensifying the natural flavour, caramelising sugar you didn’t even know was in it, and giving it colour by browning the outsides. And we all know colour = flavour!
And carrots are a wonderful example of roasting magic in action. Raw carrots – while crisp and fresh and has its place in this world – is simply no comparison to a pile of hot roasted carrots, sweet and tender on the inside, with caramelised edges!
What you need for Roasted Carrots
All you need for great roasted carrots is carrots, oil (preferably olive oil), salt and pepper. You will be eating this straight off the tray!
But I’ve also added garlic for extra flavour because I wanted to show you how I add it in partway through cooking so you don’t end up with little burnt garlic bits on the carrot. I do the same for ginger and dried herbs.
How to roast carrots
Peel then cut carrots into even chunks, toss in oil, salt and pepper, then roast for 30 minutes at 220°C/430°F, flipping halfway.
Garlic option – add it when you flip the carrots. This way, you end up with perfect little golden bits of garlic instead of bitter burn garlic.
Roasting at a high temperature is key here to get some lovely colour on the carrots which adds extra flavour. Most recipes use a lower temperature which will cook the carrots just fine, but it’s not high enough to brown them (and if you leave them in the oven longer, they overcook and become wrinkly and sad).
It’s best to cut them into large(ish) chunks so they don’t cook too quickly, otherwise they become overly soft before they brown.
PRO TIP: Frozen carrots (thawed) work just fine but they won’t brown as nicely because they hold more water inside.
How to serve roasted carrots
The obvious way is as a side – just pile it into a bowl and serve it alongside the main, see below for suggestions.
To turn it into a main affair, a really nice way to turn it into a salad is to drizzle over Tahini Sauce and add a sprinkle of almonds or pine nuts and coriander/cilantro – very Ottolenghi like!! Or add a big dollop of lemon yogurt. I’ve jotted these down in the recipe notes.
What goes well with roasted carrots
I especially love serving them with roasts. Because I only have one oven, I only serve roasted carrots on the side when the roast can be kept warm for the 30 minutes it takes to roast the carrots without losing it’s freshness. Such roasts include these:
Specifically, I find it best to serve roast chicken fresh out of the oven so these carrots don’t make an appearance on the side of chicken. You could cook the carrots in the oven at the same time, but just be aware that the more you have in the oven, the longer it takes for things to cook (it’s an unknown you will need to manage) and whatever is on the bottom shelf won’t brown as nicely.
But don’t just restrict yourself to roasts! Roasted Carrots are a terrific quick side for quick midweek meals too. Here are a few suggestions:
So tell me – what flavourings you love on your roasted carrots? Plain, garlic, parmesan, lemon, herbs?? Share your ideas! – Nagi x
PS And here’s my other favourite way with roasted carrots – glazed with Brown Sugar. So good!
Watch how to make it
Great Roasted Carrots
Extra flavouring options – see Note 3.
- 1 kg / 2 lb carrots , peeled and ends trimmed (Note 1)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves , minced using garlic press or finely grated using microplane (optional, Note 2)
- Fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 220°C/430°F (200°C fan).
Cut the carrots on the diagonal into 5cm / 2″ lengths. Cut the thicker ones in half lengthwise so they are all roughly the same width.
Place on a tray, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss.
Roast 20 minutes: Spread out on tray, roast 20 minutes.
Flip & garlic: Remove from oven. Push carrots to one end, add garlic and toss. (Add other Flavour Options at this point too)
Roast 10 minutes: Roast for a further 10 minutes. Remove from oven, toss carrots to coat in the garlicky oil and juices on the tray.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve!
I use a solid baking tray which retains heat much better than flimsy ones which also helps with browning. If you find you don’t get as much colour as I do, then crank your oven up a bit at the end!
2. Garlic – added partway through baking so you don’t end up with burnt black bits through your carrots, it’s bitter and not pleasant. Do the same for ginger and dried herbs.
Best to use garlic press or finely grate it using a microplane so you get a semi “paste” which sticks to / coats the carrots better than finely chopped garlic. Same applies to ginger.
3. MORE FLAVOUR OPTIONS
Toss carrots in these before putting in oven:
- Parmesan – 1/4 cup (25g) grated Parmesan (reduce salt I recipe to 1/4 tsp)
- Parmesan crunch – 2 tbsp parmesan + 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
- Spice Mix of your choice, or dukkah – 2 to 3 tsp
- Moroccan – 3/4 tsp each paprika + cumin, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp tumeric, 1/4 tsp ginger powder
- Everyday seasoning – 3/4 tsp paprika, 3/4 tsp oregano or thyme, 1/4 tsp EACH onion and garlic powder
- Five Spice – 1/2 tsp (for subtle)
Add these at the 20 minute toss mark:
- 2 tsp ginger, finely grated using microplane
- 1 1/2 tsp dried herbs of choice (mixed, Italian, parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, or a mix)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
Add these at the end:
- Squeeze of lemon juice (or lime!)
- One of the sauces below
- Sprinkle of parsley, chives, coriander/cilantro, green onions, thyme
- Toasted nuts (almonds, pine nuts, walnuts go especially well)
- Fresh sprinkling of parmesan
Tahini sauce to make an Ottolenghi-like salad:
1/4 cup (55g) tahini, 2.5 tbsp water, 1.5 tsp honey, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 garlic clove (pressed through garlic crusher or super finely minced), 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
Mix well until it comes together. Either drizzle over piled up carrots, OR spread sauce on platter, pile carrots on top. Sprinkle with toasted flaked almonds (or chopped) or pine nuts, plus coriander/cilantro (or chives, parsley or green onion).
Lemon Yogurt Sauce – quick way to dress it up, mix and dollop on pile of carrots or serve on side:
Mix 1 cup, 1 clove garlic (pressed through garlic crusher or super finely minced), 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 – 2 tbsp lemon juice (to your taste), 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper (plus more to taste).
4. Nutrition per serving.
Life of Dozer
Dozer banished outdoors for doing something naughty… I can’t specifically remember what, but that’s definitely his please let me back inside, I’ll be good! face, and that would’ve been the reason why I took a photo of him on the other side of the door!