One of our all-time favorite veggies, carrots take us in so many directions—and these carrot recipes show it. You can roast carrots until their edges get caramelized, coaxing out the vegetable’s natural sweetness. You can pickle fresh carrots for a crunchy companion to chargrilled meat. You can purée them to make carrot-ginger soup, a classic vegetarian comfort food. And, of course, you can shred and fold them into carrot cake batter.
In the grocery store, we recommend avoiding two types of carrots: first, those uniform little cylinders in a bag labeled “baby carrots.” They’re just whittled down from larger carrots. True baby carrots, prized for their sweetness, are harvested before reaching maturity and have pointed tips and green tops just like fully grown carrots. The other type of carrot to avoid is at the opposite end of the spectrum: giant horse carrots, which are watery, bland, and yes, meant for horses. Instead, look for medium-size carrots, ideally with the green tops still attached; use the greens to make carrot top pesto or as a substitute for parsley in chimichurri.
Now, before we get into our best carrot recipes, here’s a bonus one for carrot fries. (We know you want it.) Peel and quarter your carrots lengthwise (and maybe some parsnips, too, if you’ve got ’em), then toss them in olive oil, cumin, salt, and pepper. Roast them on a sheet pan at 425° for about 20 minutes, until their edges are crispy. Serve with the sauce of your choosing. That’s it.