Carrots are an extremely versatile vegetable because they have a natural sweetness to them that many other vegetables do not. After all, it is one of the few vegetables that can double as both a dessert (in carrot cake) and as a savory side dish. This easy-to-make recipe plays up the natural sweetness of carrots and turns them into a side so good, you’ll reach for a second helping before you’ve finished anything else on your plate.
You only need four ingredients to make this side dish.
Carrots, honey, fresh oranges and olive oil, along with salt and pepper. Since the ingredient list is so short, it is important to use high-quality ingredients for the best results. This is why I recommend using a fresh orange, rather than packaged orange juice. Freshly squeezed orange juice has a bright acidity that most bottled juices don’t have and a fresh orange will also provide the orange zest needed to finish off the dish before serving.
As you can tell from these pictures, I used baby carrots to make this particular batch.
Baby carrots, which are simply larger carrots cut down into similarly sized pieces, are convenient because they come ready-to-use and allow you to get this recipe in the oven in less than 5 minutes. If I happen to have a very large baby carrot, I will cut it in half before tossing it in with the rest to ensure that all the carrots cook at the same pace.
If you have larger carrots, you simply need to spend a few minutes preparing them before proceeding with the recipe. The carrots will need to be cleaned and peeled, then they can be sliced into rounds of approximately the same thickness. I recommend 1/4-inch slices. Carrot slices that are thicker or thinner may require a longer or shorter baking time.
These carrots are a hit every time that I make them. I love the fact that they are so easy to prepare, in addition to being so tasty! I recommend roasting the carrots just before serving them, however, the carrots can be prepared in advance and refrigerated, covered, in the honey mixture the day before you plan to cook them.
Orange and honey roasted carrots recipe
- 1 lb baby carrots or sliced carrots
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp orange zest, for topping
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt, for topping (to taste)
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a large bowl, combine carrots, orange juice, honey, olive oil, salt and black pepper. Toss with a spatula until carrots are well coated, then transfer to the baking sheet.
Spread carrots in a single layer. Roast for 35-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes with a spatula to turn the carrots. Roast until carrots are beginning to caramelize and are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork (fork-tender).
Transfer cooked carrots to a serving dish and sprinkle with fresh orange zest and sea salt. Serve warm.
Transform veggies into dishes your family will crave!
Get expert instruction and loads of recipes from Cooking Light executive chef Anna Bullett in her online Craftsy class.