Are you tired of the same old side dishes that lack color and flavor? Look no further than these Maple Roasted Rainbow Carrots! This vibrant side dish is visually stunning and bursting with flavor and nutrition. This side dish will elevate your meal and be the best “Arm Candy” for your main dish.
As you all know, we are a multicultural household. Since my husband is French Canadian, we always have Maple syrup in stock. So today, I want to teach y’all how to make roasted rainbow carrots with Maple syrup. This vibrant, colorful side dish is visually stunning, nutritious, and delicious; the colorful carrots are perfect for your entrée, such as hearty Guinness braised short ribs, Sous Vide filet mignon, and Slow-Cooked Beef Shanks in Red Wine Sauce.
EASE: Easy and quick side dish
PROS: It’s Delicious and Healthy
CONS: You may not want to share with others.
WOULD I MAKE THIS AGAIN? Absolutely…especially for dinner parties.
What are rainbow carrots?
Rainbow carrots are like a party on your plate! They are colorful, fun to look at, and full of nutrition, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory. They usually come in various colors, such as the traditional orange color, white, deep red purple, and yellow. I love rainbow carrots because they are not as chunky as normal carrots. Another fun part is that they tasty different between different colors.
Rainbow carrots can be eaten raw or cooked and are versatile in the kitchen. You can use them in salads, roast or grill them as a side dish, or make it as dessert and turn them into rainbow carrots muffins or cupcakes. With some creativity, the possibility is endless.
All about rainbow carrots
What is the difference between rainbow carrots and regular carrots?
Rainbow carrots differ from regular carrots in color, taste, and nutrition. Rainbow carrots come in more colors than regular carrots, and each color has a different type of nutrient. Rainbow carrots also tend to be slightly sweeter than regular carrots, and their different colors can have slightly different flavors. In general, rainbow carrots are more nutritious than regular carrots because they contain more types of beneficial plant compounds called phytonutrients.
Why do rainbow carrots come in different colors?
Their colors indicate the difference in nutrients and antioxidants. The natural pigments such as carotenoids, anthocyanins, and flavonoids are responsible for rainbow carrots’ orange, purple, red, black, yellow, and white colors.
- Carotenoids – are responsible for the orange color that most carrots have.
- Anthocyanins – are pigments that give fruits and vegetables red, purple, and blue colors.
- Flavonoids – are natural substances that give some types of rainbow carrots their white color.
What is the origin of maple syrup, and how is it made?
Maple syrup is made by boiling the sap of maple trees to remove the excess water, then boils until it thickens and becomes syrup. This type of syrup is more natural and healthier than regular syrup. The regular syrup is made from corn syrup and is highly processed. Maple syrup has a rich, earthy, and complex flavor profile with notes of caramel and vanilla. It is also rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
Maple syrup is typically made in regions of North America with the appropriate climate and forests of sugar maple trees. The world’s largest producer of maple syrup is Canada, specifically the province of Quebec, which produces over 70% of the global supply. You may find Maple syrup in the northern states of the US, such as Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and New York.
But I can hear my husband’s voice as I type, and I know he would tell me the best Maple syrup, hands down, is from Quebec, Canada, and no, he is not biased.
What makes this side dish recipe successful?
- These carrots are truly addictive – They are sweet, especially after you roast them in maple syrup to perfection. The roasting process helps develop a caramelized and slightly nutty flavor for the rainbow carrots. The tender texture combined with the natural sweetness of the carrots and maple syrup is irresistible.
- Healthy and nutritious: Unlike regular table syrup, Maple syrup is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, while rainbow carrots are packed with nutrients such as vitamin A, fiber, and antioxidants. Roasting these carrots helps preserve these nutrients and makes our bodies easier to absorb them.
- A versatile side dish: These carrots are not only visually appealing as a great option for food styling. It is versatile and pairs well with a wide range of main courses such as roasted chicken, Steak, and one-pot comfort food. Its best buddy side dish is creamy mashed potatoes. They both go well together with any proteins.
What are the ingredients you need for this recipe?
- Rainbow carrots – This is the main character of this side dish. But if you can’t find rainbow carrots, use regular carrots or other root vegetables.
- Maple syrup – is a healthier option, giving a natural, rich, and caramel flavor you cannot achieve with other processed sweeteners.
- Olive Oil – Helps evenly coat the carrots with the seasoning and maple syrup, resulting in a delicious and evenly cooked dish.
- Sea Salt and black pepper – the salt helps balance the sweetness and enhances the natural flavors of the carrots, while black pepper adds a subtle spicy kick to the dish.
- Maple Sugar (Optional) – It can create a caramelized crust on the carrots and add a deeper; this sugar adds a more concentrated maple taste to the final dish.
How to roast these colorful carrots in five easy steps:
Step 1 – First, wash your carrots thoroughly in the sink, using a brush to remove any dirt or debris. Once the carrots are clean, peel them using a vegetable peeler, and set them aside.
Step 2 – Before you begin roasting, preheat your oven to 400°F and ensure it is set to the roasting setting.
Step 3 – Start by cutting off the tips and the top of the carrots. Then, slice each carrot in half lengthwise. If the carrots are particularly thick, consider slicing them into quarters to ensure even cooking.
Step 4 – Next, drizzle olive oil, maple syrup, sea salt, and black pepper over the sliced carrots, and toss everything together until the carrots are evenly coated with the seasonings. If you have maple sugar, sprinkle some on top for extra flavor. However, if you can’t find maple sugar, don’t worry – you can still enjoy these delicious roasted carrots without it.
Step 5 – Once your oven has preheated, arrange your seasoned rainbow carrots in a single layer on a large baking dish. Place the baking dish in the oven and roast the carrots for approximately 20 minutes at 400°F or until tender and slightly caramelized.
How to serve these flavorful carrots in other creative ways?
In addition to serving these vibrant carrots as a simple side dish, there are several creative ways to incorporate them into your meals for an elevated, gourmet experience.
- Pureed it – For a gourmet touch, consider pureeing the roasted carrots. Begin by separating them by color and placing them into a food processor. Once pureed, spread the mixture onto a plate using a spatula or spoon. Then, place your steak or other meat on top for an elegant presentation that will impress any guest.
- Serve as an appetizer – These roasted rainbow carrots can be sliced and served on a charcuterie board with cheeses, crackers, and other finger foods.
- Turn them into salad Toppings – These warm and sweet roasted carrots are great salad toppings. They can turn the blandest salad into something gourmet, flavorful, and nutritious.
The best method and tips for cooking these carrots
1) Don’t overcrowd the baking sheet: To ensure that your rainbow carrots roast evenly and develop a tender texture with caramelized edges, it’s important to avoid overcrowding the baking sheet. Spread the carrots evenly on the sheet, ensuring not to double-stack them. This will allow them to roast evenly and prevent them from becoming soggy. Overcrowding the sheet can prevent proper caramelization and result in unevenly cooked carrots.
2) Use real maple syrup: While it’s true that real maple syrup can be expensive and not always readily available, it’s important to avoid using processed sweeteners like corn syrup or artificial maple syrup in your roasted rainbow carrots. Not only do these sweeteners lack the rich, natural flavor of real maple syrup, but they can also be unhealthy. Using real maple syrup in your recipe is worth the investment for the best results and delicious flavor.
3) Cut the carrots evenly: It’s important to slice them evenly so they cook at the same rate. This will prevent some pieces from being undercooked while others are overcooked. You can also cut the carrots into similar sizes to ensure even cooking.
Reheat and storage ideas
- Store the leftovers – in an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to 3 days. The container can help retain the carrots from drying out.
- Reheat in the oven – To keep the roasted rainbow carrots moist and tender when reheating, add a touch of extra maple syrup and a few drops of water. Cover the carrots with foil and reheat in the oven at 350F for 5-8 minutes or until heated through, being careful not to overcook them. This method will ensure the carrots retain their flavor and texture when reheated.
- Microwave them- You can also retreat your carrots in a microwave, but sometimes microwaves can make them mushy and overcooked.
Substitutions and variation ideas
- Use Honey – If you really can’t find Maple syrup, then instead of using corn syrup, I highly recommend you to use honey instead. Replace the maple syrup with an equal amount of honey in your recipe.
- Add some spices or herbs to your liking – Adding fresh thyme for a savory twist or a pinch of cinnamon for extra warmth and sweetness are some great alternative options.
- Try with other root vegetables – This recipe is also great when using other root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, regular carrots, and parsnips.
FAQs about this recipe
More delicious entree & dessert recipes pair well with this side dish.
Ready to elevate your side dish game and add color and flavor to your meals? Then give this maple-roasted rainbow carrots recipe a try! With this simple recipe, you can create a visually stunning and nutritious side dish that will impress your guests and leave them wanting more. Whether it is a family dinner party or a cozy date night dinner, these maple-roasted rainbow carrots are the perfect addition to any meal. Give it a try and enjoy the taste sensation!
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