If you're tired of eating the same old boiled or steamed carrots, then it's time to give roasted carrots a try. Roasting carrots caramelizes them, enhancing their natural sweetness and bringing out all sorts of wonderful flavors.
And you can add all kinds of delicious flavors to roasted carrots – herbs and spices are just perfect for roasted vegetables.
And best of all, it's super easy to do. Just prepare your carrots, pop them in the oven, and pretty much forget about them till they're done! Giving you plenty of time to work on other things.
When you're making roasted carrots, there are a few things you need to do to prepare the carrots. Nothing big, just a few small tricks that'll make the dish much better.
Like any vegetable, you should always wash carrots before eating or cooking with them. It helps clean off any dirt or chemicals that might still be there. Just scrub them gently under lukewarm water, being sure to get all the dirt off.
Once the carrots are washed, it's important to dry them off. Roasting relies on a dry environment. Any moisture on the carrots could end up steaming them, or preventing them from caramelizing. It's not a disaster, of course, but it won't really be roasted carrots.
Ideally, you shouldn't have to peel the carrots, because they have so much flavor and so many nutrients near the surface. Peeling is kind of wasteful. But if you feel you need to, be sure to use a vegetable peeler, since it'll peel off a very thin layer. You only need to peel one layer off the carrot.
How you cut your carrots makes a difference when you're making roasted carrots.
You don't want the pieces to be too big. Otherwise, the outside will burn before the inside is cooked! Baby carrots can be roasted whole, but bigger carrots may need to be cut into smaller pieces.
Try to cut into pieces with as much surface area as possible. It's the carrot's surface that's going to caramelize and be extra delicious, so the more you have, the better!
Try slicing the carrot in half lengthwise – it'll give long, thin pieces that have lots of surface to caramelize.
Another great way is to cut the carrots in diagonal slices. They look really appetizing, and have a large surface area.
Be sure to cut the carrots in even-sized pieces, so that they all cook just as fast.
The last step to preparing roasted carrots is cover them in a light coating of oil. You can use any kind of cooking oil you like – canola, peanut, olive, whatever you like.
The oil will create a protective layer over the vegetables that'll keep them from drying out, and help them caramelize evenly. You don't need a lot of oil. Use the smallest amount possible that'll still coat the carrots, or you'll end up with a less than healthy oily mess!
It's also a great time to add a few herbs and spices. Carrots are great just with a bit of salt and pepper. Try coarse salt, it'll give an interesting texture. But you can also use other spices like ginger, dill, cardamom... anything you like!
Just place the vegetables in a bowl, and toss them with the oil and seasonings until they're evenly coated. Or, mix the oil and seasonings together and brush them onto the vegetables. Either way works great.
Once the carrots are washed, cut, and coated with some oil and seasonings, they're ready for roasting. Here's what you need to do.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Arrange the carrots in a baking dish.
The carrots should be in a single layer. That way, they have more contact with the pan and with the air, which will help them caramelize.
If you can, pick a baking dish with low sides. It'll help get more air flow around the carrots, which will help them cook and brown more evenly.
Roast the carrots in the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the outside is browned to your liking. Turn them over halfway through the cooking time, when the bottom is starting to get crispy.
Serve, and enjoy!
Roasted carrots really are easy to cook. And it's easy to cook them just the way you like them! Just keep an eye on them, and make sure to take them out when they're as browned as you like them. Some people like crispy, very caramelized carrots, but other prefer just a light browning on the edges. Try different ways to see what you like best!
And that's all there is to roasting carrots. Enjoy!