by Erin Marissa Russell
You grow carrots in your garden because you already know how delicious they are chopped into a crisp salad or sliced into sticks and dipped in creamy ranch dressing. Depending on just how many carrots your vegetable garden produces, you may find yourself with more on hand than your family usually consumes. So let’s look at the best ways to use up carrots in a recipe, if you have a few too many.
It can be tricky to stretch out of your comfort zone in the kitchen and try something new—and the last thing you want is to spend time and ingredients putting together a dish your family won’t eat. Lots of the recipes online have too many ingredients that most of us don’t have on hand, or the meal simply doesn’t turn out as delicious as it looked in the impeccably styled photos. That’s where we come in. We’ve curated this list of recommended recipes to help you find new, delicious ways to serve all the carrots in your bumper crop.
Grate Homegrown Carrots Into Bread and Other Savory Pastries
There’s nothing like buttery bread pulled steaming from the oven for its delectable taste and the way the aroma wafts through your entire house. Though carrot cake is a commonplace dish and you may have eaten carrots in a morning glory muffin, it’s unlikely you’ve considered the whole spectrum of ways you can serve carrots in bread, rolls, and other pastries. These recipes will show you ways to get carrots out of the pantry and onto the table as part of a savory dish. And don’t worry—you’ll see dessert recipes in a later section.
If you’re new to the wonderful world of breadmaking, rest assured that baking your own loaves will be easier than it seems. Yes, you’ll need several hours to dedicate to most yeast bread recipes, but most of that time is hands-off, such as when it’s time for your loaves to rise or bake. There are also alternatives to time-intensive yeast bread recipes that are much quicker and simpler. Read on for brilliant ways to add carrots to your next meal as part of savory pastries or delicious fresh-baked bread.
Brighten Your Morning With Carrots at Breakfast
You may have gone your entire life without dining on carrots at breakfast, but that doesn’t mean you have to continue missing out. Whether they’re sauteed and mixed with eggs for an omelet or folded into batter for pancakes, the recipes here will introduce you to some unexpected ideas that will get the carrots from your garden on the table first thing in the morning.
Roast Carrots in the Oven for a Tasty Side Dish
Carrots nestled alongside a succulent pot roast and cooked in the oven until they’re tender are one of the most well-known of all the ways to eat carrots. However, for a weekday side dish, skip the pot roast and put the spotlight on the carrots, either with a simple dash of salt and pepper or seasoned with a more complex spice blend. The resulting roasted carrots will be almost as delicious as the ones you’ve eaten before, that simmered all day nestled against pot roast, onions, and potatoes until they were velvety smooth and full of flavor. To make things even better, these roasted carrot recipes are much quicker to prepare than a traditional Sunday roast, so you can have them on the table in no time. Even if you think you’re well acquainted with roasted carrots before, peruse these recipes carefully—some of them are downright indulgent
Serve the Carrots You Grow in Inventive Salads or Slaws
We assume you’ve already had your fill of green garden salads with carrots as one of the featured vegetables. That doesn’t mean that you should count salads out when you’re thinking of new ways to get carrots on your family’s dinner plates, though. We rounded up the most innovative and unique salad and slaw recipes with carrots to include here. Slaws can be served as an accent to brighten a main course, or a carrot slaw could be one component of a dish—tucked into tacos or piled atop a sandwich, for example. In the recipes below, we skipped the old standards in favor of more stylized, uncommon salad and slaw recipes that feature carrots, so you’re sure to find a fresh idea (or a few) that will spark some culinary inspiration.
Add Carrots to a Pot of Warm, Comforting Soup
A quick whir in the blender (or some attention from the immersion blender, if you have one) can transform carrots into a velvety, silky soup that’s as pretty as it is flavorful. It’s time to take carrots to the next frontier, past the cubes and discs that float in pots of chicken noodle or vegetable soup. These recipes put carrots front and center where they can show off, with seasonings from global cuisines to demonstrate just how versatile this vegetable can be. With all these choices, you’re sure to find a carrot soup that suits your family’s taste.
Spin Carrots in the Blender for Silky Smoothies
Don’t forget about smoothies when you’re looking for ways to serve all the carrots you grew this season. Though most of us wouldn’t reach for a smoothie made of carrot and nothing else, the carrot’s natural sweetness makes it a fitting companion for the flavors that usually make smoothies so delicious: banana, orange, apple, peach, and pineapple, for example. If you have a favorite smoothie recipe in rotation already, try just adding a carrot or two to the mix. For the skinny on how you can utilize carrots as part of a smoothie, visit the recipes below that look most enticing to you.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth and Make a Carrot-Based Dessert
Carrots have a natural sugary sweetness even when they’re freshly picked, without any need for seasoning or prep work from the chef. Take advantage of that tendency toward sweetness and make the carrots you grew into a dessert worthy of being your meal’s grand finale. While you’re probably familiar with carrot cake, and you may have enjoyed grated carrots in a muffin or two, the recipes below won’t include those desserts everyone knows as ways to show the sweet side of carrots. From riffs on carrot cake (such as carrot-cake-inspired cookies and cheesecake) to surprising confections from around the world, one of the recipes we’ve linked below is sure to please your palate.
These Recipes Will Help You Use All Those Homegrown Carrots
The recipes listed below didn’t really fit into any of the categories we’ve presented thus far, but they’re just too good to skip. We’d be doing you a disservice if we didn’t include them, even if they don’t fit neatly into the categories with the others. Consider the links below the “miscellaneous” section. Whether it’s an elegant carrot tart, a carrot-infused salad dressing, or osso buco made carrot-centric, the recipes listed here are can’t-miss ways to eat all those carrots you harvested this season.
As you can see, there’s no reason to let boredom drive you into a repetitive cooking routine just to make sure you use up all the carrots you harvested from the garden. There’s a whole wide world of recipes out there—an all-you-can-eat buffet of out-of-the-ordinary ways to prepare carrots that will delight your family, friends, and dinner guests, or just to entice yourself to eat more of this tasty root vegetable.
Whatever you do, don’t let your garden’s precious bounty go to waste. If you’ve grown more carrots than your household can possibly eat, however tempting the dish might be, consider donating the surplus to your local food pantry or soup kitchen. The extra produce you’ve been throwing up your hands at will be welcomed with open arms by someone in need.