Carrots are a pretty ordinary grocery staple, yet they hold culinary possibilities far beyond their humble appearance. For starters, two medium-sized carrots contain about the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of sugar, making them a flexible ingredient to cook with. The sugar is still balanced by fiber and plenty of nutritious vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds, so we're not talking about dessert — though you can certainly make some delicious confections with carrots. The sweetness level varies depending on whether you consume them raw or cooked, which offers plenty of experimentation in the kitchen.
We've compiled our favorite sweet and savory carrot recipes from Tasting Table recipe developers to highlight the versatile nature of this vegetable. We'll walk you through crunchy delights like mixed salads, coleslaw, and stir-fry dishes, as well as colorful trays of roasted vegetables, vibrant soups, and hearty stews. Let's not forget the multitude of baked goods that benefit from the addition of grated carrots, such as muffins, cakes, and even donuts. Read on to find your new favorite carrot recipe for a sweet and savory bite.
If you're all about the sweetness, you'll want to enhance that element by glazing sliced carrots in honey. Combine butter, garlic, and honey into a smooth blend and coat the carrots with the sticky mixture. Then, bake them at high heat to caramelize the sugars and cook the carrots until they are tender. Serve this luscious side dish with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley alongside a classic roast chicken for a comforting meal with timeless flavors.
Recipe: Honey-Glazed Carrots
Roasted Rainbow Carrots With Ginger And Orange
Orange carrots are fine, but rainbow carrots are infinitely more exciting and offer a wider range of flavors, from sweet to earthy. Aside from the diverse taste, these carrots are visually appealing, which makes them perfect if you want to impress dinner guests. Toss them with olive oil, orange juice, sliced orange, fresh ginger, coriander, and sesame seeds, then roast them until tender. Finish them off with some honey, orange zest, cumin seeds, scallions, and fresh cilantro. The carrots won't be the only rainbow in this dish!
Copper Penny Carrots
Retro recipes are a playful addition to any dining table, as evidenced by these copper penny carrots. The dish gets its name from the small carrot discs, reminiscent of copper pennies. Steam the sliced carrots, then combine them with canned tomato soup, oil, vinegar, sugar, diced onion, and green pepper. Chill the dish for a couple of hours to give the carrots time to soak up all the flavor from the broth. Serve these sweet and savory carrots with roast meat for a balanced palate.
Recipe: Copper Penny Carrots
Roasted Carrots Over Lentil Hummus And Lemon Yogurt
Enhance the earthiness of carrots by roasting them with garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper until soft and browned. Meanwhile, whip up a hummus variation with red lentils, tahini, olive oil, and seasonings. Plate the dish with a base of hummus topped with roasted carrots, lemon garlic yogurt, pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and fresh cilantro. The combination of earthy flavors contrasted with tangy elements and an herbal touch make this vegetarian dish pop.
Roasted Carrot And Parsnip Soup
Based on shape alone, it's easy to confuse parsnips and carrots — and they are indeed botanically related. Both bring an element of sweetness to recipes, as this roasted carrot and parsnip soup proves. These root vegetables are excellent candidates for a velvety soup that serves as a comforting meal when temperatures are cool. Make this easy soup by roasting chunks of parsnip and carrots tossed in oil and seasonings. Blend the vegetables with cream and stock, and garnish the soup with the pan-fried peels for a crunchy addition.
Recipe: Roasted Carrot And Parsnip Soup
Carrot Ginger Soup
Balance the natural sweetness of carrots with a zingy touch. Ginger is an excellent pairing and an easy add-in to transform a standard carrot soup with flair. Roast carrots with onions, then dump them into a big soup pot and fill it with stock, ginger, and seasonings. Simmer the mixture to give the flavors time to mingle, then blend the contents. Keep the consistency chunky for added texture or puree it until smooth for a creamy finish. Add fresh herbs if desired, or let the vibrant taste of the ginger stand out.
Recipe: Carrot Ginger Soup
Easy Carrot Slaw
Make carrots the star of your coleslaw to infuse this popular side dish with a pleasant taste and extra crunch. Include cabbage and red onion for variety, but prioritize bright orange carrots for this simple recipe. Combine the grated vegetables with a dressing made of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mayonnaise, honey, lemon juice, mustard, and seasonings, mixing well to coat all the stray bits. With a sweet-and-sour dressing that's both tangy and creamy, this carrot coleslaw is a winner.
Recipe: Easy Carrot Slaw
Gingery Pickled Carrots
Ginger and carrots make a natural match, which is why this pickled garnish is such a stellar combination. Thinly slice carrots, loads of ginger, and garlic cloves, and add them to a jar along with red pepper flakes. Boil a solution made with water, vinegar, honey, and salt, then pour it into a jar with the vegetables. When it cools down, seal the jar and let the carrots pickle in the fridge for three days. Then, they're all ready to add to sandwiches, salads, and tacos for a peppy bite.
Recipe: Gingery Pickled Carrots
Coconut Candied Carrots
There are plenty of ways to enhance a simple carrot side dish, and these coconut candied carrots touch on a few. Simmer sliced carrots until tender, then sauté them in a pan with coconut sugar, coconut oil, salt, and pepper, until the sugar is no longer grainy and starts to caramelize. Toss the candied carrots with chopped parsley to balance out the sweetness, and throw in some large coconut flakes for an elevated twist. Serve this veggie side with grilled chicken or as part of a mixed spread.
Recipe: Coconut Candied Carrots
Sweet Carrot Casserole
Amplify the root vegetable's sugary notes with this vibrant orange casserole. It relies on orange juice, brown sugar, and butter to create a glaze, along with plump golden raisins and a warm spiced aroma from cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss boiled sweet potato and carrots with the rich concoction, then add chopped pecans and bake for even more caramelized notes. Serve this flavor-packed dish with your Thanksgiving dinner, or anytime you need a comforting veggie side.
Recipe: Sweet Carrot Casserole
Anytime Tzimmes (Sweet Carrot Stew)
Many Jewish traditions involve celebratory meals, and certain dishes are specifically selected for their properties. Often served at Passover or Rosh Hashanah, tzimmes is a carrot stew sweetened with honey. Cook sweet potatoes and rainbow carrots for a multi-colored palette, then add orange juice and zest, dried fruit, butter, honey, and warm spices. Keep stirring to coat the veggies in the fragrant sauce, then serve them with fresh parsley to accompany a meaty dinner.
Cinnamon Carrot Muffins
Cinnamon and carrot are destined for each other, and this muffin recipe is proof. Incorporate both pureed and grated carrots for double the dose, and use whole wheat flour to keep these nutritious for morning meals. Incorporate yogurt for extra moisture and add pecans for crunch. Load up on warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to pair with the caramel notes of maple syrup, and stir in golden raisins for a juicy touch. Top the muffins with a sugary crumble so they can double as an afternoon treat.
Recipe: Cinnamon Carrot Muffins
Silky Carrot Apple Soup
Highlight a fall harvest with a savory soup that combines leek, celery, carrot, apple, and fresh ginger. Sauté the ingredients with sage and thyme to bring out the caramelized notes and infuse them with earthiness. Add stock and bring everything to a boil until tender, then puree it to your desired consistency. A silky texture lets the ingredients fully blend, providing a smooth canvas for a dollop of sour cream and crunchy croutons.
Recipe: Silky Carrot Apple Soup
Carrot Gnocchi In Walnut Brown Butter
Making gnocchi from scratch might seem like a task best left to professionals, but it's pretty straightforward and a perfect cooking project to impress your dinner companions. While the traditional recipe is made with potatoes, carrots are an excellent alternative to add color and sweetness to the dish. Combine boiled carrots, flour, Parmesan, egg, and seasonings to make a dough, kneading it to properly combine. Shape and boil the little pillows, then finish them off in a pan with butter and walnuts.
Carrot Cake Waffles And Cream Cheese Glaze
If your only experience with carrots in a dessert is carrot cake, this waffle recipe is a great variation to expand your repertoire. You'll need a waffle iron to cook the batter, but every breakfast and brunch lover should make a point of having one in their stash of appliances. Make a buttermilk waffle batter, incorporating grated carrots, cinnamon, and walnuts into the mix. Cook the waffles and drizzle them with a glaze made of cream cheese, powdered sugar, cream, butter, and vanilla.
Orangey Carrot Cake
Oranges and carrots complement one another well, and not just because of their color. This dazzling cake features loads of grated carrot and orange zest to highlight the combination. Split the batter into two pans and stack the baked cakes with a layer of frosting separating them and spread over the top surface. A cream cheese frosting evokes a traditional carrot cake, but this one includes a hint of orange extract to double down on the aromas.
Recipe: Orangey Carrot Cake
Baked Carrot Cake Donuts
Transform your favorite dessert into a donut format with zero deep-frying required. Not only is this variation healthier than a standard donut, but it's simpler and less messy to make. Prep a simple batter with the usual baking suspects, adding warm spices, shredded carrots, and orange juice. Transfer the dough into donut pans (or turn your muffin tin into a donut pan), then bake them as usual. Top the doughy treats with a rich cream cheese glaze and finish them off with chopped walnuts for a nutty kick.
Recipe: Baked Carrot Cake Donuts
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Love carrot cake, but prefer a smaller format? These cupcakes offer all the classic flavors in an individual portion, making them perfect to bring to events or to pace your sugar cravings. Make the batter with flour, sugar, oil, eggs, grated carrots, spices (cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg are always a great match for carrots), and walnuts. Spoon it into cupcake liners and bake, then prep a luscious cream cheese frosting to decorate the tops, firmly distinguishing these from carrot muffins.
Recipe: Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Zucchini Carrot Bread
Zucchini is another vegetable commonly used to make muffins and cakes, and this bread recipe pairs it with carrots for the ultimate veggie treat. Whether you're trying to sneak more vegetables into your child's diet or want to add more to your own, this is a great compromise. Finely grate the vegetables and combine them with baking staples like flour, sugar, oil, and eggs. Add cinnamon and ginger to round out this sweet loaf before baking, then serve it warm with butter for extra richness.
Recipe: Zucchini Carrot Bread
Colorful Carrot And Goat Cheese Frittata
If you're hosting a crowd for brunch or want a dinner with breakfast vibes, frittata is the answer. This variation incorporates rainbow carrots roasted with maple syrup, lemon juice, and olive oil for a sweet and earthy flavor. Once they're nicely browned, add them to a casserole dish with whisked eggs and heaping dollops of goat cheese. Puffy and light, this frittata contrasts sweet and tangy notes from the maple-glazed carrots and goat cheese.
Easy Carrot Souffle
A souffle recipe doesn't have to cause you to shy away with fears of intimidation. Although some versions require utmost precision and timing, this easy carrot variation is straightforward. Mix boiled carrots with flour, sugar, eggs, and cinnamon to make a smooth batter, then pour it into a tray and bake. Slightly less puffy than a classic French souffle, the texture is still delightfully airy and a fantastic way to add carrots to a dessert — don't forget a dusting of powdered sugar on top.
Recipe: Easy Carrot Souffle
Fall Vegetable Soup
Bright orange vegetables are in peak harvest in fall, making them the ideal components of a warm soup. This recipe features butternut squash, onion, leek, potato, and carrots for a double dose of beta-carotene and a velvety texture. Sauté the vegetables, then simmer them in stock to meld all the flavors together. Add herbs or spices if desired, or let the vegetables do the talking. Blend everything into a smooth puree, then serve this savory soup with a crusty slice of bread.
Recipe: Fall Vegetable Soup
Old-Fashioned Cabbage Soup
Plain cabbage soup might get a bad rap, but once you combine it with carrots, celery, potatoes, garlic, and onion, this basic dish gets an extra boost. Take it a step further by simmering the veggies until tender in chicken stock, tomato juice, diced tomatoes, and seasonings. Add fresh parsley and keep this soup pleasantly chunky to taste each vegetable, enjoying the various flavors that they bring to the soup. If you love tomato soup with a twist, these add-ins do the job.
Recipe: Old-Fashioned Cabbage Soup
Spicy Chicago-Style Giardiniera
Giardiniera is the ideal pickled condiment to spoon onto sandwiches, pizza, or on a mixed plate. This spicy Chicago-style recipe adds a crunchy bite with some heat, making it a great option to keep in stock. Prep a hot pickling solution with assorted peppers, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Pour it over your giardiniera veggies of choice — typically carrots, cauliflower, bell pepper, celery, and garlic — and add some seasonings; then let the soaked vegetables sit in a jar for at least a day. Once pickled, incorporate the veggies into your meals. You'll be seeking out some sweet relief from the carrot discs!
Recipe: Spicy Chicago-Style Giardiniera
Vegan Carrot Cashew Soup
Transform garlic-roasted carrots into a decidedly velvety soup with no cream to be seen. This vegan variation makes use of the fatty quality of cashews to add some depth and a luscious texture. Simply soak cashews and blend them with water until smooth. Combine the blended mixture with the caramelized carrots and veggie stock, seasoning with cumin, coriander, and lemon juice to balance out the sweetness with earthiness and tang. Serve this sunny orange soup with fresh herbs for some contrasting color.
Recipe: Vegan Carrot Cashew Soup
Easy Chicken Carcass Soup
Repurposing leftovers to make a whole new meal is part of a sustainable diet, and this chicken carcass soup hones in on the method. Enjoy a roast chicken on day one and simmer the carcass on day two. Round it out with varied ingredients, including any extra gravy or meat, celery, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, and chickpeas. Add chopped potatoes after the soup has been cooking for an hour, then finish it off with extra spinach. Carrots are a foundational element of any chicken soup, no matter how spontaneously you choose to prepare it.
Recipe: Easy Chicken Carcass Soup
Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken noodle soup is a core meal in winter months or when you're feeling ill. Carrots infuse the broth with sweetness, softening as the soup simmers and each piece becomes ultra tender. This recipe keeps it classic with the essentials: carrots, onions, celery, broth, noodles, chicken, and fresh parsley. Double up on the goodness with bone broth to mimic the effect of simmering the chicken carcass yourself. Don't wait until you're sick to prep this soup — it's guaranteed to make you feel better no matter where you're at.
Recipe: Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
Classic Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Add a burst of color to a classic broccoli cheddar soup with diced carrots. This timeless soup doesn't need any help in the flavor department, but the inclusion of carrots adds a hint of sweetness to contrast the sharp cheese and vegetal notes from the broccoli. Fry the carrots with onions first to release the sugars and soften the texture, then add broccoli, potatoes, and stock to simmer. Finish it off with milk and grated cheese to elevate this soup from "okay" to "oh yay!"
Recipe: Classic Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Rib-Sticking Hamburger Soup
A hamburger already comes in a convenient format, but when you're craving a hearty bowl of soup, it just won't do. Collect your burger ingredients and transform them into this satiating soup loaded with ground beef, onion, celery, carrot, canned tomatoes, corn, potatoes, stock, and seasonings. Granted, hamburgers don't usually include all of those elements, but the key to a rich soup base is mirepoix — a sautéed blend of onion, celery, and carrot. It might just be a small component, but the tiny bites of sweet carrot amidst the bold ingredients stand out in each spoonful.
Recipe: Rib-Sticking Hamburger Soup
Korean Beef Stew
A hearty beef stew is the solution for cooler temperatures, and this richly flavored variation will become a staple in your home. Sauté diced carrots, garlic, ginger, and beef in sesame oil to bring out earthy and nutty aromas. Add beef broth, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sugar for a sweet-and-sour profile that totally transforms this dish. Thicken the stew with a cornstarch slurry and serve it over white rice for a satisfying meat and vegetable dinner.
Recipe: Korean Beef Stew
Vegetable Beef Barley Soup
A hearty soup should contain protein, starch, and vegetables, and this recipe features all three. Beef chuck and pearl barley keep this dish satiating, while chunky carrots and celery bring in some texture and flavor. It's no surprise that the result is tender and savory, since the meat, barley, celery, onions, and carrots simmer in an herb-infused stock for around half an hour. The carrots add a touch of sweetness to this earthy soup, and a splash of color packed with nutrients.
Recipe: Vegetable Beef Barley Soup
Vegetable Stir Fry
There's nothing like a quick skillet dish to add more veggies to your diet. Stir-frying your favorite vegetables is a great way to retain their crunchy texture while infusing them with flavor and browning the edges. Carrots are a surefire way to boost the crunch and add taste and nutrients. Stir in bell pepper, mushrooms, and onion to round it out, tossing the veggies in a sauce made with sesame oil, maple syrup, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and chili flakes. Serve it over steamed rice or noodles, and choose your own protein adventure.
Recipe: Vegetable Stir Fry
Creamy Tangy Apple Slaw With Blue Cheese
It wouldn't be coleslaw without some crunch in each mouthful, and this variation incorporates carrots and apples, along with cabbage in its usual starring role. The dressing is definitely bolder in this rendition, as blue cheese takes center stage, along with mayo, apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard, and lemon. The creaminess balances out the textured veggies, bringing all the elements of this sweet and tangy slaw into a cohesive bite.
Crunchy Bok Choy Salad
Make a raw bok choy salad for a fun alternative to ordinary greens. Shredded carrots bring in some much-needed sweetness to pair with thinly sliced bok choy, celery, bell pepper, and scallions. Toss the ingredients with a dressing composed of olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, and seasonings, then sprinkle sesame seeds on top for a sweet, sour, salty, and nutty finish to the salad. Eat it solo or scoop it into sandwiches and wraps for a hearty serving of veggies.
Recipe: Crunchy Bok Choy Salad
Herbed Roasted Root Vegetables
It doesn't get much easier than chopping veggies, tossing them with oil and spices, and roasting them in the oven until golden brown and caramelized. Load a tray with chopped red and golden beets, sweet potato, and carrots, seasoning everything with garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Cook the veggies at high heat and they'll quickly start to release sugars, softening and becoming delightfully sweet. Serve the roasted roots with fresh herbs to add a savory touch, and pair them with your favorite protein for a simple and flavorful meal.
Recipe: Herbed Roasted Root Vegetables
Crunchy Ramen Noodle Salad
Skip cooking ramen noodles and use them straight from the package to make a crunchy salad. Enhance the nutrition and color game by incorporating loads of veggies. Green and purple cabbage is a good start, add scallions for a pungent element, and don't forget a heap of shredded carrots to round out the bitter notes. Toss in some edamame beans for protein, and season the salad with a dressing made of sesame oil, olive oil, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, honey, and soy sauce, garnishing the top with sliced almonds for even more crunch.
Recipe: Crunchy Ramen Noodle Salad
Cider-Glazed Root Vegetables
If you're used to roasting root veggies, take it up a notch with a cider glaze. Sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onions get a fruity treatment in this easy side dish. Start by roasting the chopped vegetables to get them nice and soft. In the meantime, reduce a combination of apple cider, white vinegar, and sugar until you have a sweet and tangy glaze that perfectly complements the tender, lightly caramelized roots. Pour the sticky mixture over the cooked vegetables, and you'll discover a new favorite recipe.
Recipe: Cider-Glazed Root Vegetables
Roasted Root Vegetable Polenta
Carbohydrate lovers are sure to get on board with this carb-on-carb combo. Roast chopped parsnips, carrots, butternut squash, and beets, along with garlic cloves, thyme, olive oil, and seasonings. As the roots slowly soften and develop their characteristic sweet notes, prep polenta on the side. Cook the finely ground cornmeal in milk to create a creamy consistency, then season it with mashed roasted garlic, butter, and Parmesan. Serve the luscious dish topped with the veggies and savor the rich aromas mingling on your palate.
Recipe: Roasted Root Vegetable Polenta
Instant Pot Vegetable Tagine
Instant Pots hacks simplify the dinner-making process, and this vegetable tagine benefits from the blending of ingredients. Use the appliance to cook chickpeas, then sauté alliums and carrots — a foundation of any vegetable stew — with ginger. Bulk it up with potatoes, sweet potatoes, and canned tomatoes, while seasoning the tagine with harissa paste, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and pepper, adding preserved lemon and dried apricots for bursts of flavor. Serve this comforting dish with fresh herbs and green olives to keep the flavors bright and zingy.
Recipe: Instant Pot Vegetable Tagine
Simple Shepherd's Pie
A shepherd's pie doesn't require fancy ingredients to impress; it combines fridge and pantry staples to make a timeless comfort meal. Creamy mashed potatoes serve as the surface of the dish, concealing the tasty filling beneath. Add flavor to ground beef by sautéing onions, garlic, and carrots in the pan before cooking the meat. Season with tomato paste, broth, and Worcestershire sauce, then stir in corn and peas for an extra veggie presence. Bake the layered dish until the top starts to brown, then savor the nourishing meal to warm up from the inside out.
Recipe: Simple Shepherd's Pie
Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup
Split pea soup might feature said legume front and center, but it's a great excuse to sneak in some extra veggies — especially carrots, with their sweet taste and tender consistency. This hands-free recipe calls for a slow cooker to do the work, making it extra easy to prepare before leaving for work. Add chopped onion, potatoes, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pot, along with dried split peas, broth, and seasonings. After several hours, the result will be thick and chunky, with a rich blend of flavors from the long cooking time.
Recipe: Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup
Cabbage Roll Soup
Cabbage roll soup brings together everything you love about the rolls, minus the laborious task of actually rolling them. Carrots and cabbage complement each other well, and both stand out in this soup. It also includes ground beef, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, rice, and an array of seasonings. Brown the meat first to bring out a caramelized element, then simmer the ingredients together to absorb the aromas and cook the rice to tenderness. Talk about a satiating meal!
Recipe: Cabbage Roll Soup
Veggie-Packed Japanese Curry
There's always room for more vegetables, as this savory curry highlights. Carrots and potatoes bring an earthy element to the dish, along with mushrooms, apple (yep!), and seasonings — notably curry powder and garam masala. Simmer the veggies in broth, thickening the mixture with a cornstarch slurry to make it extra velvety. Finish it off with a hit of protein from edamame, and serve this vibrant dish with chopped parsley, scallions, and steamed rice.
Recipe: Veggie-Packed Japanese Curry
Honey Mustard Sheet Pan Baked Pork Chops
A one-pan meal is a winner in any busy household, and this honey mustard pork chop recipe proves you don't have to skimp on flavor. To speed up the process, first parboil your veggies: potatoes, parsnips, and carrots for a boost of color. Roast them to brown with onions and rosemary, and glaze the pork chops with a honey mustard sauce. Add the chops and diced apples to the sheet pan, and drizzle the contents with extra sauce to give the meal a sweet and tangy finish.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.