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cumin-roasted carrots

Occasionally my mother’s teachings on moderation are forgotten and I become a pig. There aren’t many foods with that kind of power over me. There’s absolutely nothing virtuous about the fact that it’s not Oreos or potato chips…they simply don’t have my number. But here is one that does. To my mind’s mouth, this is a flavor combination made in heaven. I’m not asking for sympathy, but it’s not easy keeping enough carrots on hand to feed this crazy addiction.

Nothing could be simpler. No recipe required. Pluck from the ground (if you’re so lucky) or buy from the market the best looking fresh young, slender carrots you can find. Seeing their green tops looking fresh and perky lets you know these carrots have not been sitting in a cooler or in open bins overly long, losing their crispness, their nutritional value or their juicy sweetness. (I’d avoid cellophane-wrapped carrots for this preparation if you can.)

Remove their tops, leaving about an inch or so. This will serve as a little handle if you choose to forget your manners as I sometimes do. You can peel them if you want, but with these young carrots, so newly-plucked from the ground, it’s not necessary. Simply run them under cold water and scrub them well with a vegetable brush, paying close attention to where the carrot meets the green. Roll them in a towel to dry them.

If your carrots are a little wider than “slender” you can slice them lengthwise.

Lie them on a baking sheet (lining with parchment paper will help greatly in the clean-up afterwards.) Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat as you roll them in it. Scatter quite liberally with slightly crushed cumin seeds. (1½ to 2 teaspoons per bunch is about right.) Sprinkle coarse sea salt over all. A few good grinds of pepper.

Place in a preheated 400°F (200°C) oven and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on thickness. The skinny tips will get very browned. The sweet juices will have caramelized. The cumin will turn into crispy little bits of the most carrot-complimenting flavor, and the carrots themselves will practically melt in your mouth. These have a rustic, as opposed to polished, charm about them. If you’re looking for something highly refined, this might not be it. But if you’re looking for one of the best-tasting carrots your mouth has known, this one’s bound to be in the running.

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Here’s all you’ll need for

Cumin-Roasted Young Carrots

1 bunch young slender carrots

extra virgin olive oil, up to a couple tablespoons

2 teaspoons cumin seed (crushed slightly)

coarse sea salt (Fleur de Sel, Maldon, etc.)

coarsely ground fresh pepper

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For a printer-friendly version, click here.

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48 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’m making these!

    February 1, 2012
  2. m&m #

    Vegetables that beautiful make me want to eat more healthily!

    February 1, 2012
    • With vegetables, it’s all about treating them right! (The same holds true with people.) 🙂

      February 1, 2012
  3. I never thought I would salivate over carrots. I was wrong.

    February 1, 2012
    • Then my job here is done. 🙂

      February 1, 2012
  4. I’ve got a big thing for carrots myself, and these look simple enough for a weeknight dinner. And I love those little handles — aren’t they cute?

    February 1, 2012
  5. I really do enjoy roasted vegetables, carrots among them. I usually go the plain route — salt, pepper, and olive oil. Your use of crushed cumin seed, however, sounds like a more than worthy addition and I’m definitely going to try this, especially since I just bought some cumin seeds when I was out last weekend. YAY!

    February 1, 2012
    • I’m with you John, all the root vegetables I love roasted! But with cumin seeds fresh in your cupboard, you’ll want to try them this way!

      February 1, 2012
  6. I love roasted carrots but have never used cumin on them (although I do with cauliflower and broccoli)…a great idea and I will be making these next time I can get hold of some carrots as beautiful as yours!

    February 1, 2012
    • And I’ve roasted cauliflower with cumin too, but never broccoli! Now I must!

      February 1, 2012
  7. I’ll have to try this: I love carrots. I love cumin seeds. I love roasted vegetables. Crank up the oven.

    February 1, 2012
  8. Spree- I will confess, I don’t normally like cooked carrots. But this recipe may be the thing that changes this for me. This sounds yummy!

    February 1, 2012
    • Lula – first, let me confess, I love it when people confess! 🙂 second, cooked carrots have been known to be quite nasty. Not these. You’ll see!

      February 1, 2012
  9. My husband’s grandmother used to call me “My little rabbit,” because I often munched on a carrot as I whirled through life.

    I read that lightly cooking carrot bring out more of their vitamins. So now there is a double reason to try your delicious sounding cumin-roasted carrots.

    BTW we’re going to a pot luck dinner Friday night and I am bringing your wonderful chick pea soup. The dried chick peas are soaking as we speak. Thank you once again for that one; oil’s wonderful.

    Ronnie

    February 1, 2012
    • Ronnie the rabbit – it’s true what you say about lightly cooking carrots making the vitamins more available. I wouldn’t say these are lightly cooked, but they’re highly delicious and if you eat enough of them (guilty!) you’ll get what you need. 🙂
      About that chickpea soup…isn’t it just the best?! So glad you like!

      February 1, 2012
  10. Val #

    Thanks for this, a nice tip for the baby carrots I plan to pick this year! Recently discovered orange and maple glazed carrots with cinnamon… delicious!

    February 1, 2012
    • Ahh, yes, that’s another good way with carrots!

      February 1, 2012
  11. So elegant and simple.

    February 1, 2012
  12. Looks Delicious!!!! Going to make these for sure!

    February 1, 2012
  13. These look so happy to be eaten! I would even set them out at a potluck, room temp. Thank you!

    February 1, 2012
    • I was thinking just yesterday that if I were a carrot, this is just how I’d ask to be fixed. 😉 are we related or something? And I’ve had them room temp and they’re just fine!

      February 1, 2012
  14. Deb schneider #

    Wow, perfectly nurtured carrots, tended to and cared for in anticipation that they would reach your kitchen, where they will receive equally perfect attention above ground. Your photography inspires me to cook such carrots.

    February 1, 2012
    • What a sweet comment, Deb! Thank you!

      February 2, 2012
  15. Aaaaaand now I want carrots for breakfast.

    February 2, 2012
    • Let nothing stand in your way!

      February 2, 2012
  16. I usually roast carrots with rosemary, garlic and paprika and they are gone as soon as they hit the table. I look forward to trying your recipe,I can’t have enough vegetable recipes

    February 2, 2012
    • I’m with you on that point, Sawsan.

      February 2, 2012
  17. Oh that looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous, such colour and the flavour just jumps off the pages.. lovely work.. c

    February 2, 2012
  18. Don #

    Perfectly delicious. Had them tonight along with a clay pot chicken, roasted yukon golds/ baby red potatoes, and a dab or two of cold applesauce. Try these is my recommendation, they were delectable !

    February 2, 2012
    • Always happy to hear. Thank you Don for taking the time to let me know!

      February 3, 2012
  19. Spree, those look perfect. what a great colour. I do something similar but with added chickpeas – it is also yummy. Great stuff.

    February 3, 2012
  20. Ummm, sounds tasty. I usually steam carrots and top them with a cumin & cilantro sauce, but you’ve opened my eyes to roasting. Delish!

    February 4, 2012
  21. Even if I hated carrots, just seeing those beautiful shots of them I would be convinced to eat them. Luckily I love carrots, so the photos just make them even more enticing!

    February 4, 2012
  22. I believe that I am going to be planting some nice carrots this year! This looks scrumptious! You have the very bestest recipes!
    I can not resist any kind of fresh carrot recipe! And I think it is a sin to serve the family the “canned” variety from the supermarket!

    February 4, 2012
  23. Took me a bit of time but I made these tonight for a light supper along with a couple of small masala dosa and some chai, both imported from India. I’m afraid I didn’t look closely enough at the recipe before hitting the grocery store and ended up with ground cumin instead of cumin seeds in my shopping basket, but guess what–the carrots prepared that way were still delicious. Thanks.

    February 4, 2012
    • It’s the flavor of cumin that compliments so well, so you can’t go wrong with the ground. But getting a smoky roasted finish on the seeds adds a depth of flavor and a contrast in texture that’s really wonderful! Thanks for the comment Joe.

      February 6, 2012
  24. Pseu #

    that’ll go wonderfully with the roast duck I’m cooking tonight !

    February 5, 2012
    • Don #

      Pseu- Didcha know that root vegetables (especially carrots) pull some of the gaminess out of wild meat when cooked alongside? Of course, they pretty much need to be pitched in favor of a recipe cooked separately, like this one. Domestic duck on the other hand doesn’t benefit.

      February 5, 2012
      • Pseu #

        I didn’t have baby carrots, but big fat mature carrots, which I cut into chunks and shook in olive oil and a little, just a little maple syrup, and then the crushed cumin seeds. Worked pretty well 🙂

        February 6, 2012
  25. Well, now, I might call this a 24-carrot recipe because that’s about the number of ’em I’d likely eat in a sitting. And as you described those “best looking fresh young, slender carrots” I was sort of thinking supermodels, though I realized I should shift gears back to food thoughts when it got to the part about removing their tops and leaving an inch or so, because those carrots were just getting so *racy* when, gosh, the recipe is already pretty fabulous! How is it that my mind goes off on these ridiculous tangents? Well, I’d *like* to blame it all on your sexy food writing, but I suppose I can take a little of the blame myself with my toddler attention span. In any case, this *does* look like a seriously delicious treat!

    February 6, 2012
    • Oh I’m wishing I’d put YOU in charge of writi this post Kathryn! I do love the way your mind works!

      February 7, 2012
  26. These look amazing, and I WILL be making these soon as I love cumin !

    February 12, 2012
  27. AlyaVille #

    Everything about this I love. I want to eat that last photo!

    June 23, 2012
  28. Don #

    I’m back again, for a little refresher course. They are every bit as good this time around, as the first time. If you are reading the ‘comments’ trying to decide whether or not to try them, if you go for savory you’ll love these! Simple and delicious- simply delicious! Thanks Spree, another hit at our house!

    February 2, 2013

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