Steam-Roasted Carrots with Cumin

February 19, 2014

If you're like us, you look to the seasons for what to cook. Get to the market, and we'll show you what to do with your haul.

Today: The sexiest carrots you'll ever make, and a new method for all of your carrots henceforth.

Roasted Carrots from Food52

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Carrots and I, we were long-term -- we'd moved in, settled down. Slowly at first, but then every night, we'd started sitting on the couch together silently: a little complacent, a lot the same. We were comfortable, but a little drab. 

I needed something more, something new; and I found it in April Bloomfield's A Girl and Her Pig.

I know you know how to roast a carrot. (If you've ever met a carrot, you know how to roast a carrot.) Wash carrot -- or don't if no one's watching -- apply oil, season, introduce to hot oven. So why do you need another method?

Because this one is better. It's going to spice things up, and put a twinkle in your eye. And because, dissenters, you're missing a step. The secret ingredient to your roasted carrots, it turns out, is water. 

Roasted Carrots from Food52

April steam-roasts her carrots, and now that I do too, I'm not sure I'll ever go back. They come out of the oven soft but not falling apart, caramelized, and perfectly yielding, much like the avocado she pairs them with in this salad. (You don't need the avocado and orange and bells and whistles for this to be good, but add them if you wish. No one will be mad.) 

Open your fridge. Reach deep into the dark, neglected crisper, and pull out your carrots. (Every empty fridge still has them; to have nothing is to have carrots. Also celery, but I'll let Kristen field that one.) Are they a little floppy? Banged up? All the better -- the transformation will be even more ugly-duckling-to-swan.

Scrub them (I'm watching), and plunk them into a bowlful of oil and spices and garlic. Mix them thoroughly -- you'd be wise to use your hands here -- and salt them thoroughly. Tumble them into a baking dish, and make certain every last bit of laced oil follows them, like sheep off a ledge. 

Add your water now. Bake. You have roughly 50 minutes until your relationship with carrots changes forever. At this point, I'd ready yourself -- it's going to be a wild night.  

Roasted Carrots from Food52

Steam-Roasted Carrots with Cumin

Adapted from April Bloomfield's Carrot, Avocado, and Orange Salad 

Serves 4

4 medium garlic cloves, minced
Flaky sea salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander 
1/8 teaspoon red chile flakes, or more to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
30 or so young carrots, scrubbed and left unpeeled (1 pound)
1/4 cup water
A handful of small, delicate cilantro sprigs

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here. 

Photos by Eric Moran

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Fragon
  • Carter Clough
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Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


Fragon March 20, 2014
Fabulous. Have used this method to steam roast mixed veggies several times over the last few weeks. Carrots, rutabaga, potato, onion....with different spice and herb combos. No scorching, just super delicious. Thanks!
Carter C. February 24, 2014
Kenzi - with the way you write I would attempt to try anything you suggest! Gonna get me some carrots tomorrow!
Jenna @. February 23, 2014
I have so many baby carrots that come out of my garden! While I love to just munch them or use them in salads or stuffing, I am definitely looking for something else to do. Fantastically yummy!!!
LauriL February 23, 2014
Never thought I would be yumming and laughing at the same time ...about carrots no less! Thank you Oh Funny Ones. You and the carrots know who you are!! February (a bleak and ugly one for SAD suffers, is a month where we look for foods that make our spirits rise up out of the mud covered snow banks. This one did it for me!!
Karen T. February 19, 2014
So I am lucky enough to have recently put in a combi steam convection oven in my kitchen. I suppose I could just put this on steam convection and roast away. Think that at a certain point, I would shut off the steam Kenzi?
Kenzi W. February 20, 2014
I've never used one, but sounds like I would -- with these, you take off the foil midway through roasting so the carrots are able to get some color. Let us know if you try it!
Kristen M. February 19, 2014
Sometimes I slosh water on my baking sheet of carrots as they roast to keep them from burning. I am dying to try this smarter version. It looks so good!
Marian B. February 19, 2014
When I heard about this recipe I didn't understand it and couldn't believe it and now I can't wait to make it.
aargersi February 19, 2014
Marian - the April version with avocado and orange is pretty fantastic too ... all hail April!
Marian B. February 19, 2014
Preach!! She's my idol. Have you seen those photos of her making + eating a Caesar salad?
Marian B. February 19, 2014
Also one time my mom called her "ballzy [sic], just like us!"
aargersi February 19, 2014
Oh yeah - hmm, in fact maybe I need to make that salad for Saturday's cooking in Texas for a Brit friend - Apropos, no? Ballzy :-)
aargersi February 19, 2014
I love April. The month one and The Bloomfield one.
Kenzi W. February 19, 2014
Right there with you. (It's my birth month, so I'm a little biased...)
Joy B. February 19, 2014
THAT IS ME ( glancing around the kitchen quickly, then skipping the washing part).
Kenzi W. February 19, 2014
I seeee you.
Catherine L. February 19, 2014
Do carrots know you're writing about your relationship on such a public platform?
Kenzi W. February 19, 2014
Carrots and I have no secrets.