Veggie Love: Rooting For Carrots

There’s nothing babyish about it: Carrots deliver big bang for your nutritional buck. A half cup of raw carrots contains just 26 calories but delivers nearly 200 percent of the vitamin A your body needs each day to keep your organs working properly. (Vitamin A can also help slow vision loss, and it may lower your risk of certain types of cancer.) Additionally, carrots contain fiber—about 2 grams per medium carrot—and research shows that the pigments that make them orange can give your skin a healthy glow.

How Do You Prepare Carrots?

Start by selecting carrots that are on the smaller side, not to be confused with “baby” carrots, which are just shaved-down large carrots. If you buy them with their (preferably bright-green) tops still attached, you can use the feathery fronds in place of herbs or greens in salads, salsa verde, and pesto.

While you’re probably familiar with the long orange kind in the grocery store, carrots also come in globe and cone shapes, as well as red, purple, yellow, and white colors. Regardless of the variety, store the carrots and greens separately in the fridge. If your carrots are young and small, there’s no need to peel them.

What Can You Do With Carrots?

Shave or grate them: You can use a vegetable peeler to turn carrots into long ribbons. Or use a box grater or a food processor with the grating disk to make carrot shreds. No matter which way you slice them, carrots pair well with bitter greens, herbs, nuts, and dried fruit. Toss them with vinaigrette or olive oil and lemon juice just before serving.

Roast them: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Depending on their size, you can leave your carrots whole (and leave up to an inch of the green stem for a prettier presentation), cut them lengthwise in halves or quarters, or slice them on the diagonal. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper; spread on a baking sheet in an even layer; and roast, tossing occasionally, until cooked through.

Grill them: Heat grill to medium-low. Trim and cut carrots in half lengthwise, then toss with vegetable oil, salt, and pepper. Grill, turning frequently to prevent burning, until tender and somewhat charred.

Puree them: Sautée diced onion in olive oil until softened. Stir in chopped carrots, add broth (and a little coconut milk for richness, if you’d like), and simmer until carrots are very tender. Puree in the pot with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender, then season with salt and pepper.

More Carrot Recipes

Hungry for more? Try these carrot-centric recipes.

Carrot Breakfast Cookies

Sheet-Pan Chicken Thighs & Root Veggies

Cod With Carrots & Hazelnuts

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