A fresh, simple recipe for tangy, sweet roasted carrots, seasoned with honey, cumin, smoky paprika, fresh lime and chopped mint.
The humble carrot could easily be the most overlooked vegetable (next to celery, perhaps).
Is it because carrots are so dependable they seem a bit…well, ordinary?
Even in kitchens where little actual cooking goes on, you’ll probably find some carrots forgotten in the back of the fridge.
Hopefully this easy recipe will offer a solution for what to do with carrots.
Rather than waiting until your carrots grow whiskers and go limp in the vegetable bin, grab this recipe and get on board the roasted carrot train!
These whole oven-roasted carrots couldn’t be simpler to throw together (we love that).
During roasting, the natural sugars in carrots concentrate.
That sweetness pairs so perfectly with sparky acidity from lots of fresh lime (including the grated zest, and a bold spice mix of cumin, coriander and smoky paprika.
Are roasted carrots healthy?
I’ve trained my kids to think of fresh carrots as something to snack on instead of chips or other junk.
But, while raw carrots taste so good and crunchy, they’re actually more nutritious cooked.
Cooking breaks down the cellulose in vegetables so they are a bit more digestible, but the healthy beta-carotene in carrots also needs fat in order to be absorbed.
Roasting baby carrots in olive oil, spices and a bright hit of lime juice is the perfect way to get all the healthy benefits, and so delicious too.
The recipe is pretty unfussy to make, but the one thing I highly recommend is seeking out super-fresh carrots.
You know those foot-long, ginormous carrots grocery stores like to pile up in a bin?
They sometimes have Grand Canyon-size cracks, and their greens were probably lopped off months ago.
Forget about ’em! Who knows how long they’ve been hanging around in storage?
The kind of carrots I’m talking about come in bunches, sweet orange babies you can take home with their fresh green tops still attached.
How to roast carrots:
- Carrots roast best in a moderately hot oven, preheated to 400 degrees.
- Arrange the carrots in one layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Coat them evenly with oil and seasonings by gently shaking the pan back and forth, or tossing with a pair of tongs.
- Test the carrots for doneness by gently poking with a skewer or point of a small knife — they should be tender at the center.
Roasted Carrots with Cumin and Lime
- 1 ½ pounds (680 g) bunched carrots, about 1-inch diameter, with fresh green tops, peeled if you like
- 2-3 fresh limes
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey, agave or maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- Small handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese, optional
- Heat oven to 400 (200C) degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper for easier clean up.
- Trim the leafy tops off the carrots if you like (you can use them to make pesto if you enjoy their flavor).
- Grate 1 of the limes on a rasp grater like a Microplane and put the zest in a small bowl. Slice the limes in half and squeeze them into the bowl until you get 1/4 cup fresh juice. Reserve 2 lime halves for roasting.
- Stir the olive oil, honey, salt, cumin, cumin seeds, coriander and paprika into the bowl.
- Arrange the carrots on a baking sheet and pour the lime juice mixture over, rolling them around to coat. Put the lime halves on the pan, cut side down.
- Roast 20-25 minutes, until the carrots are just tender when poked with the tip of a small knife and beginning to turn golden in color. Squeeze the roasted limes over the carrots and scrape up any caramelized juices.
- Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with the green onions, mint and feta cheese.
- If your carrots are larger than 2-inches in diameter, slice them in half vertically before roasting.
- Omit the cheese and use agave nectar or maple syrup to make this recipe vegan.
- Chopped cilantro and/or Italian parsley is a perfect sub for the mint.