Roasted carrots are a lovely vegetable side dish to serve alongside your favorite meal. My recipe has a touch of extra-special flavor with a drizzle of honey Dijon dressing. I also gave it a delightful crunch with toasted pine nuts and a hint sweetness with pomegranate seeds!
Roasted Carrots, an Easy, Healthy, Vibrant and Delicious Side Dish
I have always had a little soft spot in my heart for carrots.
When I was very young, my mom had a little garden in the backyard where she grew a few vegetables. Among them were green peas on the vine (I loved those!), and tender little baby carrots with their fine, green fringy tops.
Oh, were those carrots sweet!
For me as kid, there was nothing quite like plucking one of those carrots from the warm earth and enjoying it—even if it did still have a little dirt on it! 😉
Funny enough, we ended up with a little bit of an “issue” over time...
I remember my mom showing a group of kids from the neighborhood how these carrots grew while letting everyone sample a couple. However, this ended up creating a case of “disappearing carrots” over time as the kids would then sneak into our yard without asking and eat our carrots!
Tsk tsk… it reminds me a bit of the story of Peter Rabbit sneaking into Mr. McGregor's garden! 🙂
Over time, my mom became too busy to keep up a garden anyway, and the baby carrots were no more...
But experiencing what they tasted like freshly pulled from the ground gave me an appreciation for how they grow. It developed in me a love for the flavor of beautiful, vibrant pieces of produce.
These days, I use carrots in so much of what I cook (even if only in a mirepoix—a base of carrots, celery and onions for soup, stew, etc.). And I love to use the little baby carrots whenever I can find those in the markets.
Carrots prepared any way are tasty, but I'd have to say that roasted carrots are my favorite. And oven roasted carrots are one of the easiest, prettiest and most versatile sides you can serve!
How to Roast Carrots
The flavor of tender roasted carrots benefits deliciously from a hint of something sweet and slightly tangy, not to mention a sprinkle of herbs.
The roasted carrots look so pretty when dressed up!
Honey is a wonderful choice for a sweetener, as it imparts just a hint of caramel flavor and a bit of a floral note. Dijon mustard is perfect for providing that touch of tang and a slight “bite” without being overpowering.
So I combine those two ingredients with a hint of olive oil, salt, pepper, and white wine vinegar to create a light dressing for these roasted carrots once they're out of the oven.
I also enjoy the flavor of both dried herbs and fresh herbs for my roasted carrots recipe. The dried herbs are a good choice to use during the roasting process, and the fresh are colorful and tasty finishers.
For this recipe I use Herbes de Provence during the roasting process, and a sprinkle of parsley and micro greens just before serving.
And for a touch of crunch and extra color, I like the addition of toasted pine nuts and pomegranate seeds as well!
Here’s the basics for oven roasted carrots:
- I use pre-packaged baby carrots, as these are peeled and washed, and ready to go!
- The carrots are tossed with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and whatever kind of dried herbs I'd like to use (I use Herbs de Provence for this recipe).
- Using a parchment-lined sheet pan, I spread the carrots in a single layer.
- I roast the carrots for about 30-35 minutes, or until the carrots are tender, yet still have a bit of a "bite" to them.
- When the carrots are done roasting, and while they’re still warm, I gently toss them with my simple honey Dijon dressing.
- I finish off by garnishing with fresh herbs, some microgreens, a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds for sweetness, and toasted pine nuts for crunch.
(You'll find the full recipe below...)
Tips & Tidbits for Roasted Carrots:
- Pre-packaged baby carrots: While you can certainly use medium or large carrots for this recipe, the packaged pre-peeled and ready-to-use baby carrots are my personal pick. They’re sweet and tender, and quite lovely—not to mention convenient!
- Higher heat: Higher heat is always best for roasting vegetables. 400° allows for a touch of caramelization and color, rather than steaming.
- Dress after roasting, while still warm: JDress after roasting, while still warm: Just after the carrots have been roasted is the best time to add some “finishing” flavor. Using a small amount of honey Dijon dressing, I carefully drizzle it over the carrots while they’re still warm, and toss them to coat.
- Chilled roasted carrots: While this is meant to be a warm side dish, these roasted carrots can easily be turned into a chilled roasted carrot “salad” by following the steps for roasting, and then simply putting the roasted carrots in the fridge to chill completely.
- The pretty little “extras”: I love to garnish my roasted carrots with some toasted pine nuts and pomegranate seeds for crunch and color. Adding microgreens gives them a bit more flavor and a pop of green. These extras can be optional, but they’re very tasty!
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 138 calories
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
• 1 ½ pounds prepackaged baby carrots (3 8-ounce packages)
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• ½ teaspoon Herbs de Provence
• Pinch salt
• Pinch black pepper
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
• 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
• 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
• ¼ cup micro greens
Honey Dijon Dressing Ingredients:
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• Pinch salt
• Pinch black pepper
• 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
-Preheat the oven to 400°, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
-To prepare the carrots: place the carrots into a large bowl, and add in the olive oil, the Herbs de Provence, plus a pinch or two of salt and black pepper, and toss to coat; turn the carrots out onto the prepared baking sheet and roast the carrots for about 30-35 minutes, or until they are tender yet still have some bite.
-While the carrots roast, prepare the dressing: to a small bowl, add the honey, Dijon, a pinch or two of salt and pepper, and the white wine vinegar, and whisk to combine; slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking all the while, until completely emulsified and combined; set aside.
-When the carrots are roasted, allow them to slightly cool just until you can handle them, and then toss carefully with some (or all) of the dressing, and sprinkle with the parsley.
-To serve, arrange on a platter and top with pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and micro greens.