Maple Balsamic Roasted Carrots are the perfect side dish for any dinner. Simply toss them with a tasty vinaigrette, then roast them to tender caramelized perfection in your oven.
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Maple Balsamic Roasted Carrots
Have you ever tried roasted vegetables? This simple high heat cooking method transforms ordinary veggies into superstars. These carrots are tender with just the right amount of caramelized crispy bits that are oh, so tasty!
The inherent sweetness of the carrots is amplified through roasting while the addition of balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard brings a hint of acidity. That final hit of coarse finishing salt the elevates the sweet and sour balsamic glaze.
Maple Balsamic Roasted Carrots make a perfect side dish for a simple roast chicken dinner or holiday meal. They’re delicious with any protein: ham, chicken, fish, beef, lamb, pulses, or turkey.
Though there is relatively small list of ingredients, they all work together to bring bags of flavour to the final dish.
- Maple Syrup
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Dijon Mustard
- Olive Oil
Carrots are the star of this side dish and as such, they should be selected with care. There comes a point, late in winter, when stored carrots change from sweet and fresh tasting to stale old carrots. Try to select fresh carrots that still have a pleasant sweet carrot aroma.
That said, you can choose any carrot variety for this recipe. Visually, an array of rainbow carrots is quite pleasing (and we do eat with our eyes first!). However, regular orange or red carrots will roast up just as tasty and are more readily available.
Oh, and for all you parsnip lovers out there, feel free to use this vinaigrette and roasting technique for those sweet white underrated root vegetables.
The vinaigrette is a combination of balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, pepper, salt, and Dijon mustard. Good quality balsamic vinegar can be quite expensive, so try to have a reasonably priced option for cooking projects and leave the expensive balsamic for finishing dishes and salads. The same goes for the olive oil!
If you’re Canadian, chances are high you always have a jug of maple syrup on hand. If it is difficult to find, just add a teaspoon or two of granulated sugar to the vinaigrette. The tiny amount of added sugar enhances caramelization during roasting.
Yes, there two layers of salt in this recipe. Regular sea salt or cooking salt is part of the vinaigrette and coarse salt completes the dish. If you are cutting down on your salt intake, remove the salt from the vinaigrette and leave the finishing salt.
The Benefits of Roasted Carrots
Roasting carrots allows their natural flavours to become amplified in a way that isn’t possible with other methods such as steaming and boiling. These Balsamic Roasted Carrots not only taste delicious, they are also visually more attractive.
Did you know that roasting carrots allow them to retain most of their nutritional value? Other methods like boiling allow some vitamins and minerals to leach out into the water. Since there’s no water involved, very little nutritional value is lost during roasting.
In fact, roasting may even increase the amount of bioavailable carotenoids, making them more readily absorbed by your body. Your body then converts the Beta Carotene to Vitamin A, which is excellent news for those of us with aging eyes.
How to Roast Carrots
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Start by preparing the carrots. It’s your choice to peel or leave the carrots intact. I love having a bit of the greens remain behind but it’s not necessary.
If you choose not to peel the carrots, wash and trim them well. If you want to keep the greens on, use a paring knife to scrape in an around where the carrot joins the greens.
To peel the carrots, use a peeler and peel in a downward motion from the trimmed stem all the way to the tip. Slice larger carrots in half lengthwise, or even into quarters.
Place the prepared carrots in a glass baking dish or bowl.
In a glass jar or small bowl combine the vinaigrette ingredients (oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon Mustard, salt and pepper). Screw the lid on and shake the contents well.
Pour the vinaigrette over the carrots and toss to coat them. You may need to use your hands to massage them so they are well coated.
Pour the carrots onto the roasting pan or dark baking sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on how dark you want the carrots to be.
Less time is needed for ‘just roasted’ than for more caramelized carrots with crispy edges. Flip them over halfway through, if you like.
Remove carrots from oven, arrange on a plate and scatter sea salt or finishing salt and freshly chopped parsley to finish.
Make Ahead Balsamic Roasted Carrots and Storage
Sometimes it’s hard to free up oven space for side dishes, especially during large holiday dinner prep. Thankfully, you can roast these carrots up to a few days ahead of time, then reheat them while the roasted meat is resting.
These carrots keep well for up to a week in the fridge, though I highly recommend you leave off the finishing salt and fresh chopped parsley until just before serving. Reheat in a 400 F oven for a 5-10 minutes. This dish does not freeze well.
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