Living in Vermont, it is hard not to feel spoiled with all the colorful veggies and fruits during these summer months. My weekly trip to the farmer’s market on Sundays is my favorite time of the week. Last year I learned that, when it comes to produce, August is the best time in terms of variety and taste. Therefore, this month I am on a mission to make all our meals from the fruits and vegetables I buy from our local farmer’s market.
The first one of the fresh August produce recipes coming your way is this Roasted Whole Carrots recipe. My version here is an adaptation from the Roasted Carrot Hummus recipe I shared last year.
In that recipe, I roasted carrots and garlic, mixed them with tahini, chickpeas, and dill in the food processor to turn it into a delicious hummus recipe. Topped off with feta, walnuts and more dill, it was one of the most popular recipes of last summer.
This baked carrot recipe is the same exact recipe, except you don’t need the get your food processor out. Instead, you roast carrots in the oven, make a simple tahini dressing, drizzle them with the dressing and top them off with chickpeas, feta cheese, and walnuts. So it is like roasted carrot hummus recipe deconstructed.
If you are like me, love reusing same ingredients to create different recipes, I am pretty sure you will like this recipe. But before I talk about how I made this multi colored carrot recipe, I want to talk about and share some of my tips on how I roast my carrots.
As you can see in the photos, I used multi colored carrots (some people call them “fancy carrots”) that are currently in abundance at our farmer’s market. However, the methods I use here would work for baby carrots or other supermarket carrots as well.
How To Prepare Carrots for Roasting – Should you peel carrots
If you are buying your carrots directly from the farmer, chances are that they will come with their green parts. Don’t throw them away. Most people make carrot-top pesto (like Gwyneth did here) and use it as dressing in pasta, salads, or simply to drizzle onto roasted vegetables.
Once you cut the tops, wash your carrots under cold water and gently scrub them using a brush to remove any soil or debris as much as possible. Unpeeled carrots are safe to cook and eat.
On the other hand, the following statement that I found from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine’s website states that they taste better when they are peeled. To test whether or not peeling carrots will make a noticable difference on taste, they did a blind test between peeled and unpeeled carrots and found out the following:
“Although a few tasters found the unpeeled raw carrots to be earthier tasting than their stripped siblings, most were distracted by their “dusty exterior” and “bitter finish.” The results were even more clear-cut when the carrots were cooked. Tasters unanimously preferred the peel-free carrots in the glazed and roasted samples. In both cases, the skins on the unpeeled carrots became wrinkled, tough, and gritty. Their flavor was “again earthier, but not in a good way” and they weren’t particularly appealing looking. On the other hand, the peeled versions remained bright orange, tender, and sweet.”
To sum it up, it is up to you whether or not to peel your carrots. I personally like to spend a few extra minutes to peel them, but again it is a personal choice and you can’t go wrong either way.
How To Roast Carrots
In my opinion, the best way to cook carrots is to roast them in the oven. To do so, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 Degrees C), place them on a sheet pan in one layer, drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, give them a mix, and roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing them once halfway through the roasting.
As you can see in the pictures, I roasted my carrots as a whole. However, if your carrots are larger, feel free to cut them in 2-inch pieces. This method works for baby carrots as well.
How Long To Roast Carrots at 400 – Carrot Roasting Time
It usually takes 20-25 minutes for carrots to roast in a 400 F degree (204 Celsius) oven. The important thing here is to make sure that they are spread throughout the sheet pan in one layer.
To check if they are fully roasted, pierce one carrot using the tip of a knife. If it goes in and out easily, it should be good to go. If not, let it roast for a few more minutes and test it again.
Cooking Carrots on the Stove
Alternatively, you can roast carrots on the stove top. I am sharing this because I think if you are planning to serve this during the holidays, when the oven is on high demand, slow roasted carrots in the oven might not be the best option.
Instead, you might want to cook your whole carrots on the stove top.
To do so, heat olive oil on a large skillet (cast iron would work nicely) in medium-high heat. Add in the carrots. If your skillet is large enough you can cook carrots as a whole. If not, feel free to cut them into smaller bite sizes.
Cook them, turning a few times until they turn lightly golden. This takes about 5 minutes. Add one or two tablespoons of butter and continue to cook until they are tender, for another 5 minutes or so. Sprinkle them with parsley (or any other herbs you like) and serve.
My Current Favorite Multicolored Cooked Carrots Recipe:
Now let’s talk about my current favorite version of roasted whole carrots.
While you can certainly serve oven roasted carrots just by themselves, here I turned them into a simple yet elegant side dish with just a few additionally steps. The process has 3 folds:
- Roast the carrots and garlic in the oven.
- While they are roasting make a simple tahini dressing.
- Drizzle the dressing over the now-roasted carrots and top them off with cooked chickpeas, crumbled feta cheese, and dill.
The whole dish comes together in less than 30 minutes and takes the otherwise ordinary roasted whole carrots recipe to what I’d like to call, the best carrots recipe.
Though I am aware that I might sound biased, I have served this in many occasions and have gotten nothing but raving reviews. So if you want to up your oven roasted carrots game to the next level, I will humbly suggest that you give this recipe a try.
Other carrot recipes you might like:
- Carrot Smoothie
- Carrot Coconut Cupcakes
- Carrot Hummus
- Need more inspiration? Be sure to check out all our Vegetable Side Dishes
What goes good with roasted carrots
Roasted Whole Carrots Recipe
- 2 pounds of whole colorful carrots scrubbed*
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
For The Tahini Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons of tahini sesame paste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons of water more if needed
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ cup fresh dill rinsed and chopped
- Handful of pomegranate seeds as garnish optional
- To roast the whole carrots: Pre-heat the oven to 400 F degrees (204 C degrees). Place them on a sheet pan in one layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Give them a toss. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until they are lightly golden. Be sure to toss them halfway through the roasting process for even roasting. Let them cool on the counter for 5-10 minutes before assembling.
- To make the dressing: Mix tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, water, salt and pepper in a mason jar. Put the lid on and give it a good shake. If it is too thick add in a little bit more water (1 tablespoon at a time) and continue to shake until it is easy to drizzle.* Taste for seasoning and add in if necessary.
- To assemble: Place the carrots on a serving platter (or you can keep them on the sheet pan like I did), drizzle them with the dressing and top them off with chickpeas and feta cheese. For garnish and color, sprinkle them with fresh dill and pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately.
- Please read the blog post for more information on whether or not to peel the carrots
- If you like, you can roast a head of garlic with the carrots.
- The thickness of the tahini dressing is totally up to you. I like mine a little thicker but you can add in a little bit water to change its consistency to the way you like.
- You can serve this dish both warm and cold.
- If you want to make it ahead, roast your carrots in the oven a day in advance and keep them in the fridge in an airtight container. When ready to serve, place them on a platter and follow the recipe as directed.
- Similarly, if you have leftovers, as long as they are kept in an airtight container in the fridge they will still taste very good on the next day.
This How To Cook Whole Carrots recipe post was originally published in July 2018. It has been updated with additional helpful information and with no changes to the recipe in August 2020.