Simple Roasted Baby Carrots

I no doubt get my best recipe inspirations from trips to farmers markets or early morning strolls in my garden. There’s something about finding an ingredient that’s fresh at its peak that makes me so excited to get cooking.

With my garden still dormant for the winter, I’ve been relying on the farmers markets in Nashville for the inspiration lately. Remember that root vegetable gratin and those sunchoke tartines? Farmers market inspired!

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White baby carrots with bright green carrot tops

My parents came down to Nashville for a visit this past weekend, so we took them down to Franklin to browse the farmers market, visit the Factory at Franklin, and drink some beer at Mantra Artisan Ales.

When we were at the market, we picked up these beautiful little baby carrots (just calling at me to become little roasted baby carrots!) from Bloomsbury Farm. Bloomsbury Farm might be my favorite vendor at the Franklin Farmers Market. Her organic produce has always been incredibly fresh and delicious – and the displays she makes with this produce are truly stunning!

Roasted Baby Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto

I also grabbed some hakurei turnips (I’m obsessed) and super mesmerizing romanesco! In my cooking rush I didn’t manage to take any pictures of the turnips or romanesco. Just a reason to come back and buy some more 🙂

One of the best things about buying carrots from a farmers market or growing them yourself is so you can utilize those lovely green carrot tops. Carrot tops are edible (you may have heard that they’re not, but that rumor has been dispelled), more nutritious than their roots, and add a bright, fresh kick to whatever you pair them with.

Carrot tops washed and rinsed with baby carrots

For these roasted baby carrots, I made the tops into a very quick pesto with a punch of lemon juice and extra salt to contrast with the sweet and mellow vegetables.

I’ve recently rediscovered the magic of an immersion blender – it makes really fast work of the pesto and is so easy to clean compared to an entire food processor. I’ve got another recipe coming for you soon with a luxurious sauce made with my immersion blender – it’s got roasted cauliflower, capers, lemon, and garlic butter, so it’s basically heaven. (Stay tuned!).

Baby carrots and halved kumquats ready to roast

With an ingredient this good and fresh, it’s best to keep things simple. So for these roasted baby carrots, I simply tossed them with avocado oil and a little bit of salt. Then I added some halved kumquats to the pan and tossed everything together before roasting.

The kumquats are by no means necessary, but I found some at a market here in Nashville and have been having fun experimenting with them. They provide a nice acidity and sweetness when roasted. If you don’t have any, a squeeze of lemon juice when the roasted baby carrots are done cooking would achieve a similar result.

Roasted Baby Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto

Bon appétit!

Roasted Baby Carrots with Quick Carrot Top Pesto

Simply roasted baby carrots are wonderfully sweet and mellow, and when paired with bright green carrot top pesto the carrots truly come alive! 

Course Side Dish, Vegetable
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

For the Roasted Baby Carrots

  • 1 large bunch baby carrots preferably from a farmers market, not the kind you buy for snacking in a bag at the grocery store
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt divided
  • 5-10 kumquats halved (optional)

For the Carrot Top Pesto

  • 2 cups loosely packed carrot tops tough stems removed
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • water to thin the pesto as needed

Instructions

For the Roasted Baby Carrots

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 

  2. Scrub the carrots and cut off the green tops, leaving 1/2 inch intact at the top

  3. Toss the carrots with the avocado oil, kosher salt, and halved kumquats 

  4. Bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes or until the carrots are tender.  Shake the pan halfway through roasting to evenly roast the vegetables

For the Carrot Top Pesto

  1. Wash the carrot tops in a salad spinner and remove the tough stems 

  2. Combine the carrot tops, salt, lemon juice, pine nuts, and oil in a bowl and use an immersion blender to blend into a pesto.  You can also do this in a food processor. 

  3. Taste the pesto and adjust any seasonings as necessary – you can thin the pesto with water for a looser consistency and to make the flavors less potent

  4. Spoon the pesto over the roasted baby carrots and serve!

Recipe Notes

Kumquats are by no means necessary in this recipe, but they do provide a sharp sweetness and acidity that pairs really well with the carrots.  


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