Any tricks to roasting carrots?

I can roast most other veggies just fine but have had many failures with roasted carrots. They tend to turn out really tough. Any tips would be much appreciated as I'd like to make Reeve's roasted carrot soup and have beautiful purple carrots from the Farmer's market I don't want to waste!



dymnyno April 24, 2011
I totally agree with sarah k! I didn't like the texture of the purple carrots when I used them in my coffee roasted recipe...the old standby orange carrots came out perfectly.
sarah K. April 24, 2011
Another thing to consider is the type of carrots you're using. If your aim is to have tender, sweet roasted carrots, maybe your best bet would be conventional (by which I mean orange, not "non-organic") carrots, since for the past century or so, these carrots have been bred for their relatively uniform crispness and sweetness. Yes, you can still find yucky orange carrots, but that would be due to factors like age, and hydration. Purple carrots, and yellow, red, and white ones as well, are bred for their lovely color. I've grown them all, and have found them to be simply different in texture. Almost all the purple carrots I've tried are beautiful on the outside, but have a tough core. Even the young, juicy ones. In many cases, the skin is lovely purple, the flesh is bright orange, and the core is woody yellow. So pretty, but I'd take the core out. And if you peel them, you peel that purple right off.
monkeymom April 24, 2011
Just an update. The broiler method worked well with some baby carrots (real ones) from the farmer's market. They were tender and lovely. The purple carrots still were a little tough. But once they were very good in the soup. I added a drizzle of maple syrup and it was delicious. I'll definitely try Syronai's maple carrots if I brave the roasted carrot again! Thanks again.
beyondcelery April 23, 2011
Here's my favorite roasted carrot recipe (with my own modifications):

Maple Roasted Carrots
Makes 6 servings

1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into thick, 2-3 inch long sticks, or a16 oz bag baby carrots
2 tbls maple syrup
1 tbls light olive oil
pinch allspice
pinch chipotle salt

Preheat the oven to 425F. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir together. Arrange on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake, stirring gently every few minutes, until the carrots are tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes, and serve.

Original recipe from The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet by Nava Atlas
monkeymom April 23, 2011
Thanks so much guys! This is perfect. I will follow the recipe as Kristen suggests.
Kristen M. April 23, 2011
In general, I would think that since carrots are so sturdy, a slower, gentler roast at a slightly lower temperature than you would normally use for roasting would help with the toughness issue.

But with that soup, Reeve actually has you broil the carrots to get them caramelized, and then they finish simmering in the broth, so toughness shouldn't be a huge concern -- just don't let them get too black under the broiler!
boulangere April 23, 2011
My experience, too, dymnyno and monkeymom. Where I live, outside of the summer months of bounty at Greg's Red Barn, there is no such thing as a really fresh carrot. When I made the roasted carrot soup, which is heavenly and very well worth the effort, I sort of poached them first to about half-doneness, then drained, tossed with olive oil and seasonings, and roasted them for flavor at 375 for about 15 minutes.
dymnyno April 23, 2011
First of all the carrots have to be really fresh and crisp. If the carrot is soft and soggy, it will be a tough carrot. The only way that you can use a less than crisp carrot is to boil it. I found out the terrible truth about roasting carrots when I was making my Coffee Roasted Carrots.
nutcakes April 23, 2011
I've not broiled them as his recipe suggests. I've just tossed with olive oil and seasonings and roasted them at 400F for 35 minutes or so--not quite as hot as the 425F I roast most other veggies at. I cut them about 1/2 inch too, halving the slices at the thicker end.
SKK April 23, 2011
I peel them, slice them, add whatever seasonings I want, toss with olive oil so the carrots are covered and roast uncovered at 400 F for about 30 minutes or until done.
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