Roasted Carrots with Creamy Pine Nut Sauce
Once I grew beyond the whole carrots and hummus boring snack that was my go-to for most of college and my 20’s and 30’s, I actually started to like carrots.
Roasted. Not raw. Big. Not small. Carrots with their green tops still intact. Not little baby finger food carrots. I’m talking the real thing here.
If you’re like I was and can’t stand to look at another carrot after eating them as a snack for years or decades, this is a pleasantly surprising way to gently bring your taste buds back to a sweet yet earthy veggie that’s divine when paired with a creamy pine nut sauce and charred lemons.
When I’m roasting a sweet vegetable, I tend to pair it with a savory sauce to balance out the flavors and temper the sweetness. I enjoy the creative aspect of balancing flavors – the sweet, the salty, the bitter, the cool, the hot, the sour, the umami – you know. It’s a bit of a game for me in my kitchen and I get a lot of joy out of it.
What I love about this simple recipe is that it delivers layers of flavor. The sweetness of the charred citrus, the earthy tenderness of roasted carrots, the salty creaminess of the pine nut sauce – everything coerced onto a plate laced with fresh parsley for a bold pop of grassy green.
While the carrots I chose were tiny and from the farmer’s market, you’re welcome to vertically slice your carrots if they’re large. Doing so will yield curled carrot ends after roasting – making a beautiful presentation. Not only is this a tip for a more inviting visual display of this recipe but the vertical slicing will also cut the roasting time in half. Large, thick carrots tend to take quite awhile to roast and when you’re hungry, it’s really not fun.
These roasted carrots are easy enough for a weeknight side dish and can also take center stage for lunch. The pine nut cream is quite filling and tends to hold me over for awhile when I enjoy this recipe mid-day.
Whenever you decide to serve this recipe, I find it more enjoyable to keep the food relaxed and simple by laying the baking sheet on the table with the carrots still piping hot on top. Place the sauce on the side along with the small skillet from the charred lemon. There’s no need to use up more plates for serving – for me, everything feels much more comfortable right out of the oven without any fuss.
And lastly, if you happen to purchase carrots with the green tops still intact, clip them and store them in the refrigerator to use in place of parsley for a basic pesto recipe later in the week.
All supplies used in this recipe can be found In My Kitchen.
Click the Play button below to hear me share a few helpful tips and walk you through the simple steps of making this recipe. Maybe, like me, you’ve had times when you’ve struggle to read through a recipe and follow the steps. All kinds of life circumstances–grief, trauma, stress—can tax our cognitive processing abilities, which is why I’ve created these audio clips to further support you now that I’m in this more healed place.
p.s. I updated the creamy pine nut sauce recipe below since recording this audio.
Roasted Carrots with Creamy Pine Nut Sauce
Creamy Pine Nut Sauce
- 1 large lemon halved
- drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
- fresh flat leaf parsley torn
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the carrots onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the oil over the carrots and use your hands to ensure the carrots are glossy and well coated. Sprinkle with sea salt and roast for 30-35 minutes or until the carrots are very tender and golden brown.
- Meanwhile, combine all the Creamy Pine Nut Sauce ingredients in a mini food processor and puree until velvety smooth. Set aside.
- To make the charred lemon, rub the cut side of the lemon halves with olive oil, add a pinch of sea salt to each half and place cut side down on a small skillet over medium heat. Let the lemon halves sit for about 2-3 minutes, without moving them, or until they're heated through and charred.
- Remove the carrots from the oven. Spoon the pine nut sauce onto a serving platter, add the carrots on top and serve with a drizzle of the charred lemons and fresh parsley. Serve warm.
- Store leftovers in separate sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Bring leftovers to room temperature before serving.