By: Carol Harrison, RD.
Canadians are crazy for carrots, and it’s easy to see why – they’re delicious, budget-friendly and versatile. They’re also packed with nutrients, including beta carotene (which our bodies convert to vitamin A) for healthy skin and a strong immune system, fibre for gut health, and potassium for muscle and nerve function. In fact, a half-cup of raw carrots fulfills half of your vitamin A needs for the day. And because carrots are the fourth-largest vegetable crop in Canada, we can enjoy local carrots virtually year-round.
Crisp, raw carrot sticks with dip are a fast and familiar snack, but if you’re looking for flavourful new ideas, try these:
- Winter favourite: sheet-pan dinners. Roasting carrots intensifies their flavour and aroma. Try this steak and roasted veggie sheet-pan dinner. A drizzle of creamy garlic sauce over the steak and veggies makes this meal irresistible, while the easy prep and cleanup makes it a winner!
- Summer favourite: Grilled Carrots with Maple Dijon Dressing. This salad is simple to make, yet it’s fancy enough to take to a potluck or serve for a family celebration. Make it a meal by adding your favourite protein. Sliced steak, chicken, chickpeas, lentils or a couple of hard-cooked eggs would all work great.
- Year-round favourite: eggs and carrots. Try adding sautéed grated carrots to your next frittata or quiche. It’s a tasty way to include veggies at breakfast, too.
Good to know: The choice is yours! Organic carrots and conventionally produced carrots are equally safe and nutritious. Whether a farmer chooses to use an organic pesticide or a synthetic one, both must be reviewed and approved by Health Canada.
Your Carrot Cheat sheet
You can enjoy carrots raw or cook them in many different ways:
- Matchstick carrots add a big burst of colour to your dishes. Buy them pre-cut or prepare them yourself. Enjoy them in pita-pocket sandwiches, tacos, salads, soups, nourish bowls, curries, veggie patties, pasta sauces, and coleslaw.
- Baby carrots are great for snacking. Add grape tomatoes, baby cucumbers and snap peas to create a super-easy veggie tray.
- Whole carrots are great for soups, stocks, smoothies, empanadas, roasting or grilling, sheet-pan dinners, fried rice, stews, casseroles and stir-fries. You can also grate them for baked goods, like Carrot and Honey Cookies or muffins.
Get creative in the kitchen!
Customize your carrots with these tried-and-true match-ups:
- Veggies: Carrots go great with beets, kale, peas, potatoes, spinach, onions, rutabaga, snow peas, bok choy, daikon and cabbage.
- Flavourings: Amp up your carrots with:
- Ginger, garlic
- Cinnamon, cloves, ground coriander, ground cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper
- Coriander, dill, thyme, tarragon, curry leaves, mint, oregano, parsley
- Maple syrup, honey
- Lemon juice, orange juice, apple juice
Nutrition Hack: Cooked carrots provide about 20% more beta carotene than raw carrots – plus, adding some fat to your cooking, such as canola oil, helps your body to absorb this nutrient.
Want more tips? Read Your Money-Saving Guide to Storing Carrots