When Nate and I first got married he would ask for one side and one side dish alone: brown sugar carrots.
The problem? I had no idea what those were. Still don’t really know what they are or how to make them. Sure, that’s what Google’s for – or, you know, asking people – but what’s the fun in that? I figured that if he couldn’t tell me how to make them then we’d make another side dish. So all these years (4.5 years!) we’ve yet to make a side dish with cooked carrots.
Honestly I grew up eating carrots raw and didn’t really know another way. Sure, I knew they’d be good roasted, but they’re just so easy to take with you and crunch in their natural state! Not to mention the dogs adore carrots. Scratch that: ‘adore’ isn’t a strong enough word. Covet? Cherished? Infatuated? They seriously love them to the point that they will sit in front of me and beg like they’ve been starved for weeks if I happen to be snacking on a fistful of them! It wasn’t always like that though…
Bunker, when he was but a young only pup, would spit them out and move them around on the floor. When we got Keira we randomly gave her one, which she ate like a pro and promptly started begging for more. Anyone with multiple dogs (or probably kids for that matter) knows that if one is begging for something the other one will too. So we gave one to Bunker who spit it out again. Keira snatched it up and you could practically hear Bunker saying, “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM! She took my carrot!!!!” We gave them each one more and they’ve been hooked ever since.
I’m telling you, nothing like sibling rivalry to get your kids or fur-babies to eat their veggies. Although I suppose you should make sure one of them likes veggies first…
Anyway, back to the carrot side dish thing. We never made warm carrots. Until now. You see I forced myself to give in and pay the obscene amount of money it costs for 64 oz of pure maple syrup. And since we can’t eat pancakes THAT many days in a row without tiring of them I knew we had to figure something else out. I scoured the fridge and found our bunch of carrots with tops on. A voice in the back of my head whispered, “Maple Roasted Carrots might be like those Brown Sugar Carrots Nate keeps asking for…” ever so softy.
An idea was born. I immediately got to washing, peeling and chopping. And I didn’t feel quite so much like I had the half-gallon-of-maple-syrup-blues anymore…although I can’t speak for my checkbook. Yikes.
- 1 bunch carrots (approximately 10 whole carrots)
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, plus more for drizzling if desired
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 400. Wash and peel all of the carrots. Cut them into 3/4-inch slices, making sure they’re all approximately the same size for accurate cooking times. Place on a baking sheet; be sure they’re not too crowded! Drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Toss with your hands making sure everything is equally coated. Roast at 400 for 30-35 minutes, turning every 7-10 minutes to insure even browning. Remove from pan once they’re done otherwise the maple syrup will make them stick! (On that same note it would be good to soak the pan immediately…after removing the carrots of course!) Drizzle with a little extra maple syrup if desired and/or sprinkle with a tad more salt. Enjoy with any protein or just eat them by themselves!