They may seem like an ordinary pantry staple, but carrots take a walk on the wild side in these clever desserts, casseroles, and side dishes.
- Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Virginia Houston
Thinking Beyond CruditéAvailable year-round, carrots are one of those versatile vegetables that can be fixed any number of different ways. But roasting, braising, or slow sautéing brings out even more of this vitamin A-rich vegetable's natural sweetness. Kitchen tip: don't store near apples, which give off a gas that makes carrots bitter.
Roasted Spiced CarrotsWhile roasting brings out the sweetness in carrots, this easy make-ahead side goes one step further to blend sweet and savory flavors. Large chunks of carrot are roasted with olive oil, cumin, and cinnamon and then tossed with raisins and parsley. Substitute baby carrots if you'd like.
Caramelized Carrot RisottoIt's made the traditional way, but this risotto hits some extraordinary flavor notes, mainly because of two not-so-common risotto ingredients. One is creamy sweet mascarpone cheese. The other is carrots, slow cooked in a butter-oil bath until their sugars caramelize.
Poached Scallops with Leeks and CarrotsPairing scallops with root vegetables like leeks and carrots may seem odd, but in reality these ingredients truly bring out the best in each other. The carrots add a delicious crunch that perfectly balances the tender, meaty scallops.
Carrot Cake PancakesThese cakey flapjacks feature warm spices and bright carrot flavor. Our lightened version calls for low-fat buttermilk and a small dab of honey butter.
Carrot Macaroni and CheesePut a healthy twist on macaroni and cheese with this unique casserole. Toss a carrot sauce with pasta, orange zest, tarragon, and cheddar cheese.
Spiced Braised Carrots with Olives and MintTransform carrots into an exotic, boldly-flavored Moroccan side dish by braising them with mint, cinnamon, garlic, red pepper, coriander, honey, and lemon. To finish the dish, add oil-cured black olives and a splash of oil and vinegar.
Inside-out Carrot CakesFun and portable, this easy dessert stuffs sweet cream cheese icing between two flat cylinders of spiced carrot cake. They're perfect for lunch boxes, picnics, or church bake sales.
How-To Video: Preparing CarrotsWatch this how-to video for the best way to slice and dice fresh carrots.