Yes, holiday foods can be stunningly beautiful and surprisingly healthy. We know, it sounds impossible, but this textural, flavorful, colorful roasted carrot recipe is proof positive! It’s also a super simple recipe—it’s really just plain roasted carrots, dressed up with a bit of za’atar and (our favorite, ultimate trick) topped with cheese. Salty feta, earthy, tangy za’atar and crunchy pumpkin seeds make these sweet roasted carrots into a dish that people will be raving about for years. You don’t need to let them know how easy it was to make—we can keep that between us.
Everything You’ll Need To Make Roasted Carrots with Za’atar
These roasted carrots are extremely forgiving—just don’t burn the carrots, and you’re pretty much golden. Most people like them, too, and they’re suitable for a lot of different dietary needs—vegetarian, low-carb, gluten-free. In general, this is just a super healthy side dish (that doesn’t skimp on flavor in the slightest). Even a vegan could pretty easily eat around the cheese (or you could always leave it off if need be). If one of your guests has the thing where cilantro tastes like soap to them, no worries! Just leave it off. It’s also really easy to scale this recipe up if you’re cooking for a big crowd.
Za’atar—How Do We Love Thee?
Let’s count the ways! If you’ve never cooked with za’atar before, welcome to the za’atar fan club! If you love food, you’ll love za’atar. It’s just a really exciting spice. Or rather, spice blend! Yep, za’atar is not just one spice! It’s a blend of spices that is Middle Eastern in origin and the exact spices that are included in the blend varies from recipe to recipe, region to region and—if you’re buying it at the store—brand to brand. That said, the flavor profile remains roughly the same and is defined by thyme—za’atar is actually the name of a particular type of green herb that grows wild around the eastern Mediterranean and is related to the thyme that we’re familiar with here in the U.S.—sesame seeds, salt and sumac. Some recipes include cumin seeds or a bit of oregano. As with any spice in your cabinet, you want your za’atar to be as fresh as possible. It’s pretty easy to find in most grocery stores these days, but you can also find Za'atar online too!
How To Make The Best, Savory Roasted Carrot Recipe, Ever
With feta cheese, za’atar and pumpkin seeds scattered on top, these roasted carrots are far more exciting than a side dish has any business being. But every dinner party needs a scene stealer, right? Time for roasted carrots to have their moment in the sun! Other than peeling the carrots (which you can do up to a week ahead! Just keep them in the fridge submerged in cool water) you can’t prep much of this recipe ahead of time, but it only takes about 15 minutes start-to-finish, so you can throw it together while guests are topping off their drinks and finding their seats around the table. Honestly, it’s that simple. Here’s how easy this beautiful side dish recipe is to make:
Season! Toss the carrots with salt, olive oil and za’atar. Just to make life easy, do it on the baking sheet you’ll roast them on.
Roast! About 15 minutes at 400°F.
Serve! Make them look all pretty on a platter, and sprinkle them with cilantro, feta and pumpkin seeds.
Yes, Carrots Can Be Exciting
If you think carrots are for the bunnies, it’s time to think again! They’re inexpensive, ubiquitous and actually really delicious! Particularly when you pair their roasty sweetness with just the right things—salty feta and heady, herby za’atar, for example. Give this recipe a try and let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!