These easy roasted baby carrots have a slight hint of citrus with the earthiness and nuttiness of cumin, making these a delicious weeknight side dish. They take 5 minutes of prep and then they roast in a sizzling hot oven for the remainder of the time.
More veggies, less sugar. That's the name of the game in the new year. Right after I have some more of these Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies.
The kids love carrots though, so I find myself roasting a lot of carrots each week...and a girl needs to mix it up a little bit. These Cumin Roasted Baby Carrots take no more than 30 extra seconds than you're typical roast with just salt and pepper, so it's not a time suck. Other delicious carrot variations in our house include Rainbow Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto and Weeknight Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup.
Cumin, an ancient spice
Cumin is an orangeish brown spice that originated in the Eastern Mediterranean. Apparently the Romans used to put cumin in a bowl on the table like we do salt and pepper, and it's mentioned in the Old Testament. Cumin's a bit of a cultural nomad now though because it's used in so many different cuisines since it's easy to grow in different climates.
Cumin is a seed extracted from a dried fruit but we grind the seeds down to a powder, which is what recipes using cumin typically call for, including this one.
Cumin has a slightly bitter, earthy flavor, and is used in chilis, taco seasoning, Persian dishes, Indian dishes...the list goes on and on. It's one of my top 10 spices I use regularly, I'd say.
Ingredients to make Cumin Roasted Baby Carrots
It's so simple to make these roasted baby carrots. You probably have most of the ingredients in your fridge and pantry right now:
- baby carrots or just use regular carrots. Regular carrots will also be delicious. I just find baby carrots to be a little sweeter, so when I find them at the grocery store, I buy them. Regular carrots will likely need about 5 minutes longer of roasting time.
- fresh orange juice from squeezing about a half of an orange. I used a blood orange because that's what I had on hand...but use whatever orange you have available to you.
- olive oil to keep carrots from burning
- cumin because it's delicious
- garlic -- adds an extra deliciousness to the carrots
- salt and pepper
- parsley (totally optional...just makes them look extra nice when they come out of the oven)
Tangy and Earthy: Yin and the Yang
The citrus adds a really nice, tangy contrast to the earthy, nutty cumin. This isn't something you typically see paired with cumin. Typically you see equally bold spices (chili powder, coriander) paired with cumin, but the citrus is a unique, complimentary flavor. It doesn't have a strong presence either. There's just a hint of citrus.
Other ways to roast baby carrots
- Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the baby carrots and roast. The balsamic will caramelize on the carrot making the most delicious combination. And if you want to make them a little spicy, sprinkle some red pepper flakes on them, too.
- Cover the baby carrots with garlic, thyme, and olive oil.
- Like the balsamic roasted baby carrots, try honey or maple syrup on them before roasting. And add some thyme and yummmmm. The maple syrup or honey caramelizes nicely.
- And if you're feeling extra fancy and don't mind the sugar, brown sugar is delicious to roast carrots with, too.
More love, more veggies in the new year!
Cumin Roasted Baby Carrots with Citrus
- 2 pounds Thumbelina or small carrots scrubbed and tops cut off
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- salt and pepper
- parsley optional for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up. Lay trimmed and peeled carrots on parchment paper. Toss them in olive oil and orange juice. Spread cumin, garlic, salt and pepper over carrots and toss again.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes (depending on the thickness of your carrots) or until tender when pierced with a fork. Squeeze any extra orange juice on top just before serving and garnish with parsley.