A quick roast in the oven is all carrots need to go from basic to exciting. These spice roasted carrots are topped with fragrant caraway seeds, anise seeds, and coriander then served over fresh ricotta with arugula.
With just five minutes of prep work and less than a half-hour in the oven, this side is going to change the way you think of carrots.
Carrots are a root vegetable, meaning that the orange rod you eat actually grew underground as the root. Carrots also come in yellow, red, and purple varieties, each with a slightly different flavor.
Carrots are in season from June to November and they store well, so it’s possible to find them even deeper into the winter. Carrots picked after the first frost are known to be sweeter than those found in early fall.
Oh, and baby carrots? They’re grown as whole carrots and then sliced to ideal snacking size.
If you manage to find carrots with the tops on, they have been harvested more recently, which could yield better flavor. Once purchased, cut off the greens and store them separately. The leaves are edible, too! They have a slightly bitter, acidic flavor that adds a punch of flavor. My favorite way to use them is as a carrot-top pesto by adding the greens to a food processor with herbs, nuts, cheese, and oil.
Don’t I need to peel the carrots?
Don’t do it. Simple as that. All you need is a wooden vegetable brush to scrub off any lasting dirt. Carrots are root vegetables, after all, and their thin skin has been safely stored within the earth until they were picked. Peeling will remove more carrot than necessary, and it’s kind of a pain too.
A Match Made in Heaven
The spice roasted carrots are wonderful on their own, but they grow to a whole new level when served as a salad with ricotta and arugula. The key to this simple upgrade is using good-quality ricotta. I don’t mean to go spend your paycheck on luxury cheese, but don’t choose the store-brand $2/quart kind either. I used the BelGioso brand whole milk ricotta which was under $4. It’s also surprisingly easy to make homemade ricotta, but I wasn’t about to get that wild on a weeknight.
I like this quick side with a simple seared steak and bread or a hearty pork chop with lemony pasta. It would even be great with ham when feeding a crowd.
Spice Roasted Carrots
- 1 pound carrots scrubbed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
- ¼ teaspoon anise seeds
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked coriander
- ½ cup whole milk ricotta
- 2 cups arugula
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Place cleaned carrots on a quarter baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Top with spices and toss to coat.
- Bake until softened, 20-25 minutes.
- Spread ricotta on a serving plate and top with arugula. Place the roasted carrots over top and drizzle with any oil and spices remaining in the pan.