Carrots are an old-school “health food.” I imagine all our parents said, “Eat your carrots—they’re good for you.” They are good for you—loaded with heart- and skin-friendly beta-carotene and immune-boosting antioxidants. Raw, steamed, or boiled, carrots are delicious, but roasting them really coaxes out their natural sweetness.
When making a dish that has few ingredients, such as these roasted carrots, it is important to use the highest-quality options available and within your budget. Save those slightly wilted carrots for a soup or stew, and do not even consider using bagged baby carrots. This recipe warrants the freshest, most beautiful carrots you can find. If you are lucky, your farmers’ market may even have carrots in different shades of orange, red, and purple.
Roasted Carrots with Balsamic Glaze
1 pound carrots, preferably organic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon best-quality balsamic vinegar (see Yoffie Wisdom)
Salt and pepper
Optional garnish: chopped thyme or parsley
- Preheat oven to 425˚F.
- Trim and scrub carrots. Halve or quarter them lengthwise to yield strips about the width of your finger. Alternatively, slice carrots into 1/2-inch coins.
- Place cut carrots on a baking sheet or shallow roasting pan, and toss them with the olive oil and some salt.
- Roast carrots for 15 minutes. Toss carrots for even roasting.
- Roast carrots for an additional 5 minutes. Carrots should be nearly tender and slightly charred at the sides and tips. Roast for a few more minutes if necessary.
- Remove pan from the oven and drizzle carrots with balsamic vinegar. Return pan to oven and roast 2 to 5 minutes more, or until the balsamic vinegar has evaporated, and the carrots are tender and slightly charred.
- Season carrots with salt and pepper, and garnish with chopped thyme or parsley.
- Simple Roasted Carrots. Eliminate the balsamic vinegar.
- Roasted Carrots with Balsamic Glaze and Goat Cheese. Remove carrots from the oven and allow to slightly cool. Crumble dry goat cheese on top before serving.
- Roasted Carrots with Balsamic Glaze and Roasted Salmon. Roast carrots for the initial 15 minutes. On either the same pan where the carrots are roasting or on a separate pan, add individual servings of salmon filet drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Roast salmon alongside the carrots for 12 to 15 minutes.
Line a roasting sheet or pan with either parchment paper or aluminum foil. The carrots are much less likely to stick, and you will have an easier and faster clean-up.
Carrots, as with other vegetables that are orange or red in color, are loaded with beta-carotene. Recent research indicates that carrots in particular contain beta-carotene isomer, which may be more readily processed by the body than other forms of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin, the immune system, and vision.
The highest-quality balsamic vinegar you can afford will make all the difference in this recipe. Many of the “balsamic vinegars” in the supermarkets are simply flavored vinegars, often with lots of added sugars. A true balsamic vinegar is made from a reduction of Trebbiano grape juice and has a delicious, thick, slightly sweet yet intense flavor. Unfortunately most high-quality balsamic vinegars are expensive, oftentimes starting at seventy-five dollars a bottle. Our recommendation for the most affordable and tastiest balsamic vinegar can be ordered from Salumeria Italiana in Little Italy in Boston. Their $31 Rubio Aged Balsamic Vinegar is amazingly tasty. What a great gift to yourself!