20 Ways to Serve Carrots – With Recipes!
Carrots are delicious fresh from the ground. You don’t need to peel freshly picked organic carrots, just wash the dirt off. In fact the outer layer of the skin is full of nutrients. If you can’t get carrots fresh from your own garden, try buying them at the farmers’ market. You’ll find they taste much better than what you can find in a grocery store.
Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. Your body can access the beta carotene from carrots more easily when they are cooked, but raw carrots are also delicious and healthy. Carrots contain several antioxidants, including beta carotene and vitamin C. The vitamins in carrots may improve cardiovascular health, eye health and overall immune system support (source).
Most carrots are orange, but other colours of carrots, including dark purple carrots, are rich in other antioxidants (note that if you cook with these carrots, they may dye your food purple). Rainbow carrots, which can be purple, yellow, white and red, are healthy and provide great variety in colour for fun meals.
Here are 20 different ways to serve carrots – raw, cooked, roasted, juiced, baked and more. There should be something here for even the pickest eater who avoids vegetables. Check here if you want more ways to get your kids (or other people you care about) to eat vegetables.
1. Raw carrot sticks
You can eat raw carrots whole or sliced. If your carrots aren’t fresh, you may want to peel the skin for texture, flavour or visual appearance.
You can buy pre-cut carrots at the grocery store, which are an option if you are short on time, but you may find they have less flavour and nutrients. Baby carrots are also an option, but they tend to be more expensive.
In case you have heard rumours about baby carrots, I’ve included this article to confirm they are safe to eat: 2 Baby Carrot Myths and Facts: How are Baby Carrots Made and What about Chlorine? from 100 Days of Real Food.
And, if you are looking for some classic ranch dressing dip to go with your raw carrots, here are some ideas:
Healthy Greek Yogourt Ranch Dressing from Running in a Skirt
Dairy-free Ranch Dressing with several substitution options from Cooking with Curls
2. Shredded, Grated or Spiralized
Raw carrots can also be shredded, grated or spiralized (if you haven’t heard about spiralized vegetables, click here). In these shapes, carrots can be added to salads, sandwiches and wraps for flavour and texture. Spiralized or grated carrots can also be used for garnish or decoration. Kids love the spiral shapes and thin texture which make them easier to chew than larger carrots.
I’ve collected several recipes to give you some ideas:
Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing from Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Beet, Carrot, Apple Salad from Stupid Easy Paleo
Spiralized Carrot and Cucumber Noodle Salad with Avocado Dressing from Leelalicious
Spiralized and grated carrots can also be cooked:
Carrot Ribbons with Rosemary Butter Sauce from Do You Even Paleo
Sweet Potato and Carrot Tinga Tacos from Dora’s Table
One of the simplest ways to cook carrots is to roast them. Put carrots, some oil and spices on a pan in the oven, and wait! This way of serving carrots reminds me of family dinners in the fall and winter. Depending how what seasonings you choose, your dish can be simple and highlight the taste of the carrots or as fancy as you’d like.
Simple Roasted Carrots from Cooking With Curls
Roasted Balsamic Carrots from Tip Hero
4. Baked fries
My kids get excited about anything you call a “fry.” You can make baked, carrot fries quite easily. As with the other ways of preparing carrots, you can choose the seasonings you like. Here are a couple of recipes, but you could also prepare carrot fries with just salt and pepper, if you prefer.
Parmesan Carrot Shoestring Fries from Glitter and Graze
Spicy Carrot Fries from Nutrition Twins
I love the flavour of a creamy carrot soup. Carrot soup is my son’s favourite. Some recipes use cream or yogurt, but dairy-free puréed carrot soup are still creamy because they include coconut milk or cashews to add to velvety texture. You will need a blender or a stick mixer to make these recipes.
Gluten-free, Dairy-free Carrot Ginger Bisque from Silvana’s Kitchen
Curried Coconut Carrot Soup from The Kitchn
Simple Creamy Carrot Soup from Picky Palate
Roasted Carrot Tomato Soup from Well Plated
6. Pureed or Mashed
Mashed or puréed carrots can be added to recipes to add colour and a creamy texture. If you want to “hide” vegetables in a recipe, than mashing them and mixing them in is the easiest way. Mashed carrots can be added to many different types of recipes from dip to mac and cheese. Mashed carrots can also be served as a side dish. You can also added carrot purée to applesauce for added colour and vitamins.
Roasted Carrot Hummus from Sun-kissed Kitchen
Hidden Veggie Mac and Cheese from Mess for Less
Vegan Mac and Cheese with Carrots from Petite Allergy Treats
Pureed Carrots with Ginger from Food, Folks and Fun
Mashed carrots and turnips from Bake, Eat, Repeat
Simple steamed carrots are an easy side dish for any meal. Cooking carrots makes it easier to access beta carotene (source) but overcooking them can destroy some nutrients, so steaming is a great cooking option. When my kids were just starting to eat solid foods, I would feed them cold steamed carrots so they could practice chewing on a softer carrot.
Here’s an easy tutorial for steaming carrots on the stove: How to Steam Carrots from LeafTV
You can also steam carrots in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot: Steamed Carrots in the Pressure Cooker from Large Family Table
Glazed carrots can appeal to kids who like sweets. I wouldn’t suggest serving glazed carrots too often because these recipes tend to be high in sugar, but it may be a way to get your kids to start eating carrots. Saving these for special occasions. Here are a few different recipes to try
Slow Cooker Honey Glazed Peas and Carrots from Plain Chicken
Maple Glazed Carrots from Little Dairy on the Prairie
This recipe uses orange juice instead of sugar for the glaze: Orange Glazed Roasted Carrots from Skinny Ms.
Talking about carrot juice always reminds me of this Arrogant Worms parody song (Carrot Juice is Murder). Okay enough of that… If you have a juicer or a powerful blender, carrot juice can be tasty by itself or with other fruit and vegetables. Fresh juice can also be frozen into popsicles or ice cubes for hot days.
Winter Vitamin Boosting Juice from Happy Foods Tube
Carrot Ginger Juice from My Whole Food Life
Carrot, Orange and Ginger Juice without a Juicer from Rachel Cooks
10. In a smoothie
There are lots of great ways to include carrots in smoothies. You can freeze leftover carrot purée in an ice cube tray, and then add the frozen carrots to a smoothie. You can also add cold (not froze) puréed carrots to a smoothie instead of bananas to give it a creamy texture. If you have a high powered blender, you can add fresh, chopped carrots to your smoothie.
These recipes can provide some ideas, but feel free to experiment with the flavours you like best.
Keep in mind that smoothies with protein and healthy fats will keep you full longer than a smoothie that is made from fruits, vegetables and juice.
Vegan Carrot Turmeric Ginger Smoothie from Veganosity
Carrot Smoothie with Pineapple, Banana and Mango from Savory Tooth
Carrot Mango Smoothie from Culinary Hill
Carrot Cake Oatmeal Smoothie from Big Man’s World
11. Pickled or fermented
If you like want to add more probiotic foods to your diet, try fermented carrots. These carrots are fermented with lactobacillus bacteria, which helps preserve them. The flavour and texture are similar to a pickle, but with added benefits for your gut. Click here to find out more about why your gut health matters here.
Fermented Carrots with Dill from The Real Food Dietitians
12. Dehydrated or baked chips
You can make carrots into crispy chips in the oven or the dehydrator with these recipes. These are also a favourite with kids since they are a crunchy snack with a little sweetness. Serve them with dip or hummus for a nutritious snack.
Healthy Baked Carrot Chips from A Spicy Perspective
Carrot Chips with Ranch Herbs from The Chalkboard
How to make dehydrated vegetable chips from Leaf
13. Baked in cakes, breads and muffins
Here are some of my favourite recipes for carrot cakes, breads and muffins. Most of these recipes are gluten-free or grain-free, many are also free of other allergens and refined sugar. Some have traditional carrot cake flavours and others offer new combinations. You can find more recipes for delicious baked goods with carrots on my Pinterest board of Carrot Recipes.
Paleo Carrot Banana Muffins from Elana’s Pantry
Gluten-free Carrot Cake from Spunky Coconut
14. No Bake Desserts
While carrots are a vegetable, their sweet flavour makes them great for desserts. The flavour of carrot cake can be transformed in to other tasty desserts. Try these recipes to enjoy carrots for dessert or a sweet snack. These recipes use a little bit of sweeteners (maple syrup and dates) but also rely on the natural sweetness of the carrots. These are all quick recipes, that don’t require baking, but they do need time to cool in the fridge.
Carrot Cake Fudge from Purely Twins
Carrot Cake Energy Balls from Sweet as Home
No Bake Carrot Cake Bars from Ela Vegan
15. Fritters, loaves and balls
Grated or shredded carrots can be shaped in to balls, loaves and fritters. You can probably take these recipes and shape them as you like to make burgers, balls or loaves. You can also experiment with the seasoning to suit your family. Grated vegetables can also be added to meatballs made with beef, chicken or turkey.
Quick and Crispy Vegetable Fritters from View this Healthy Recipe
Easy Savoury Carrot Balls from Green Evi
Seed and Carrot Loaf from Trinity’s Kitchen
Easy Veggie Fritters the Kids Will Love from Frugal Coupon Living
16. Carrots for Breakfast
You could serve a smoothie made with carrots, carrot juice or a carrot muffin for breakfast, but here a few other breakfast ideas.
Carrot Cake Overnight Oats from Sweet as Honey
Carrot Cake Oatmeal from Lauren’s Latest
Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal from Oh She Glows
Carrot Cake Pancakes from the Roasted Root
17. Garnish – flowers or curls
You can also make a salad or meal look fun, edible with carrot garnishes like flowers or curls. My kids would probably love the carrot hearts in their lunches.
How to Make Carrot Curls from The Yummy Life
Carrot Hearts from Snap Guide
Carrot Flowers from Garnish Food
18. Carrot tops
Did you know you can also eat carrot tops?
The green leafy parts of the carrot are safe to eat despite rumours they are poisonous (source).
19. Carrot jam
Apparently you can make jam from carrots. The recipe looks like it would be worth trying if you happen to have 18 cups of shredded carrots. Let me know if you try this Carrot Jam from Food and Wine.
Both carrots and carrot tops can be used to make homemade broth or stock. Add them to your chicken, turkey or beef broth for flavour and vitamins, and include them in your vegetable broth, too. You can even use the carrot peels to make broth (see Vegetable Broth from Veggie Scraps from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken).
Here are a fewer more interesting ways to use carrots. These are places you might not expect to see carrots:
Did you know you can make carrots taste like hotdogs? I don’t like hotdogs, so I don’t think I would like carrots made to taste like hotdogs. This might appeal to kids or people who don’t eat meat. Carrot Hot Dogs from Thug Kitchen cookbook via Liete’s Culinaria
Here’s another creative way to use shredded carrots. This recipe uses grated carrots to replace the meat in a BBQ sandwich. Pulled BBQ Carrots from Veganosity
You could also use carrots instead of corn to make taco shells: Healthy Taco Shells from Sweet as Honey. And you can use carrots as the filling for tacos: Lentil Carrot Tacos from Making Thyme for Health or Chili Roasted Carrot and Avocado Tacos from Turnip the Oven
Apparently, you can even make Carrot Bacon from Yum Some.
Did I miss any of your favourite ways to eat carrots? Please comment below with your favourite carrot recipes.