If there is one signature “Robbi” fall vegetable side dish I am known for it is probably this: honey and thyme roasted rainbow carrots.
I love honest, simple, clean cooking. The kind of cooking where you don’t need to do much work if you are using top quality ingredients. In this case, I let the carrots speak for themselves. Besides the vivid colors, I’m quite fond of the flavor nuances that each variety offers: the subtle peppery bite of violet carrots, the mild, sweet flavor of the golden variety and the crisp, spice of red and orange carrots create such a pleasant taste atmosphere on the palate that it is nearly impossible to have just one serving of these delightful vegetables. Tossing them with a smidge of honey, fruity olive oil, flakey sea salt and fresh thyme leaves results in the perfect balance of sweet and savory.
I’m fortunate enough to live in an area where I can find locally grown heirloom rainbow carrots. However, if you are unable to source them where you are, the standard orange kind will work just fine. I will recommend that you purchase carrots loosely and/or with the stems still attached as they will retain their crisp, fresh flavor longer. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to the produce manager at your local market, if you aren’t able to purchase produce from farm stands. Often, I have found that produce managers are eager to mix it up and source new foods, they are just waiting for the interest!
Okay – back to this dish. It’s my go-to for three reasons. Its easy and tasty and healthy. ‘Nuff said. From start to finish this entire recipe takes only about 30 minutes and once it is in the oven it is a completely passive task.
So here’s what you do:
Get about a pound of carrots. Peel and cut lenghtwise until they’re all roughly the same width (Some carrots will need to be cut more than others).
Place on a sheet pan and toss with good olive oil and good honey. Sprinkle some fresh thyme leaves, give a few cranks of the pepper mill and salt and pop them in the oven. Tossing once after about 15 minutes. Depending on the thickness of your slicing, the carrots should be done after about 30 minutes. Check whether they are ready by piercing with a knife. You want them to still have some give to them – al dente. Gone are the days of soggy and limp vegetables people! Garnish with a few leaves of fresh thyme and a sprinkling of flakey finishing salt and this dish is ready to be enjoyed.
NOTE – This recipe CAN BE VEGAN! Just sub the honey for maple or brown rice syrup although the flavor profile will change a bit especially if using maple syrup as it is inherently sweeter.
- 1 pound of carrots, rainbow or standard variety, peeled and trimmed lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon good olive oil
- 1 tablespoon good honey**
- few sprigs of fresh thyme
- flakey sea salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- **Can sub honey for maple syrup or brown rice syrup to make vegan
- Preheat oven to 400'.
- On a large sheet pan, toss carrots with oil and honey.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme leaves.
- Roast until fork tender, approximately 30 minutes, turning once half way through.
- Serve with additional thyme leaves and flakey sea salt.
- Standard carrots can be used.
- Maple Syrup can be substituted for the honey for a vegan option.
- Orange zest can add an interesting flavor variance.