Sometimes it’s all in the details.
I think I may speak for many when I say that we all done with boring steamed carrots—bland and a bit dry (or mushy). And I think I can safely add that we are also done with steamed baby carrots tossed with cinnamon, sugar and butter. Carrots have so much more to offer!
Carrots are typically a pretty inexpensive vegetable to purchase. (I’m currently buying 25 lb. bags for $17.99 at my local grocery store—that’s $.72 per pound.) When you’re on a budget, taking advantage of what’s inexpensive is one way to stretch your money and stay within your budget. And, really, we’d all do well to eat more carrots. They’re a good-for-you vegetable, and we all know we all need to regularly eat more vegetables!
But being cheap and common—like the carrot is—does not have to mean plain and boring—like the carrot unfortunately too often is.
I’ve shared a few interesting and delicious recipes in the past using the nutritious and frugal carrot:
- Yummy Sweet & Savory Carrots topped with bacon (truly one of my favorite side dishes ever)
- A very frugal and nutrient-rich pureed carrot soup (try $0.81 per serving—frugal indeed!)
- Coconut Maple Carrots, a personal favorite recipe from my cookbook Whole Foods for the Everyday Cook
- These deliciously soft, carrot puddings—especially wonderful during the holidays.
And today I want to share another fantastic carrot recipe with you: Roasted Balsamic-Glazed Carrots. This recipe takes the carrot from boring to extraordinary in just a few quick steps! It’s really as easy as 1-2-3, literally: 1 T of balsamic vinegar, 2 T of honey, 3 T of fat.
As far which kind of fat, you’ve got some choice and flexibility here:
- Coconut oil complements the flavors in this recipe, but the balsamic vinegar definitely still drives the flavor profile. (It really will not taste “coconutty” if that’s a concern for you.)
- Butter is always a good choice! Yum! You can’t go wrong there. Butter will add richness.
- Olive oil lends itself nicely to this recipe and adds a hint more savory flavor to the carrots.
I always appreciate a flexible recipe because—though I try to avoid them—there are those times when I reach for something like butter only to realize I’m out. (How did that slip by me?!) I hope you appreciate a flexible recipe too!
Take note of how the carrots are cut. Like I wrote at the beginning, sometimes it’s all in the details. Cutting the carrots on the high diagonal adds a little sophistication to what could be a very ordinary looking dish. It’s really no harder, and it’s no more time consuming. But doesn’t it look a bit more fancy? These large, thick slices also hold up well in the oven during the roasting. Just cut at a very high diagonal so that you achieve carrot slices that are about 1/4-inch think and 3–4 inches long. I find it easiest to start at the bottom of the carrot and work my way up. When I get to an end, I flip it so it lays down flat on the diagonal I just cut. That stabilizes it, and I then cut straight down to finish it off. (Saves the fingers!)
Roasted Balsamic-Glazed Carrots
- 2 dozen large carrots
- 1 T balsamic vinegar
- 2 T honey
- 3 T fat (melted coconut oil, melted butter or olive oil)
- 2 generous sprinkles of thyme
- 2 small pinches of salt
Preheat oven to 375. Wash and peel the carrots; cut off the ends. Slice the carrots on the very high diagonal, making 1/4-inch slices that are 3-4 inches long. Divide the carrots and place in two glass or ceramic baking dishes (both about 9×13″ size).
Melt the butter or coconut oil and stir the honey into it. (If using olive oil, whisk the honey into it.) Stir (or whisk) the balsamic vinegar into this mixture. (It will separate and that’s okay.) Spoon this mixture evenly over the carrots. Sprinkle the carrots with thyme and salt. Toss the carrots in each dish with your hands until evenly coated.
Bake at 375 for 40 minutes, or until carrots are tender and a few are just beginning to brown on the edges. Serve immediately or keep covered and warm until serving.
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