Easy cumin roasted carrots with Middle Eastern flavors! The tahini sauce with maple syrup, lemon, and a little cayenne makes this a perfect side dish for fall. Bonus: it's a vegan recipe, so everyone can enjoy!
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These cumin roasted carrots will turn your plain old oven roasted carrots recipe on its head. Middle Eastern flavors are the key! Cumin, tahini, lemon—yum! Don't skip the cilantro. It lends a wonderful light, brightness that you don't want to miss.
We'll slice the carrots in half lengthwise, keeping them long and elegant, while allowing them to get brown and caramelized in the oven.
Try these on a weeknight and see what happens! Your routine just might be transformed! It's also perfect if you're looking for vegan Thanksgiving sides. And it has so much flavor that you'll want to make it all the time, no matter what is - or isn't - in it.
Ingredients you'll need
- Carrots: Choose carrots that are firm, not limp. They should snap, not bend. You can use plain old orange ones or multi-colored carrots.
- Olive oil: For roasting.
- Cumin: Because carrots love cumin and cumin loves carrots.
- Tahini: Tahini is a paste made of sesame seeds, it's used to make sauces for all kinds of Middle Eastern recipes like shawarma and falafel. You only need 2 tablespoons, but it keeps well in the fridge and once you have some on hand, you'll find more recipes to use it in! Trader Joe's has a good, affordable organic tahini.
- Lemon juice and zest: This gives our sauce some tartness and tang, and a wonderful aroma.
- Real maple syrup: Provides sweetness to complement the carrots and temper the lemon juice. You need the real maple syrup here, not the fake kind.
- Cayenne pepper: Just enough to add a bit of smoke and a bit of bite. It's just hanging out in the background giving you that little somethin' somethin'.
- Cilantro: More than a garnish! It gives a bright, flavorful finish.
How to make cumin roasted carrots
Step 1: Peel and slice the carrots
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
Peel the carrots with a vegetable peeler, and trim both ends.
Slice the carrots in half lengthwise. If you have some carrots that are a lot thicker than the others, cut them into fourths lengthwise.
Step 2: Season carrots with cumin and get them roasted!
Coat the carrots with olive oil and cumin and season with salt. Divide the carrots between two sheet pans, laying them cut-side down.
Roast for 20 minutes, until carrots begin to get brown and caramelized. Flip the carrots over and put back in the oven, rotating the pans from top rack to bottom rack.
Roast for 5 more minutes, or until carrots are cooked all the way through and browned to your liking.
Step 3: Make the tahini sauce
Zest and juice the lemon, set zest aside for finishing the dish.
While the carrots are roasting, combine the tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.
PREP TIP Tahini sometimes looks like its curdling when you mix in other liquids, but don't worry. Just keep going and it will smooth out.
Step 4: Top roasted carrots with sauce and serve
When the cumin carrots are roasted and ready, transfer them to a serving plate, drizzle with the tahini sauce and sprinkle the lemon zest and cilantro on top. Add sea salt such as Maldon to taste. Serve the remaining sauce on the side at the table.
Tips for foolproof cumin roasted carrots
- Try to use carrots that are similar in length and width. If you have some that are a lot thicker than others, just cut them into fourths so everything will roast evenly.
- Don't crowd the carrots too close together on the baking sheet. You want them to be roasted, not steamed.
- This tahini sauce is weeknight flavor savior! Don't just save it for these cumin roasted carrots, use it on all kinds of roasted vegetables, or to jazz up a salad or a grain bowl.
Technically, no. The peel on a carrot is edible. But sometimes the outer skin of the carrot can be a bit tough when roasted. If you choose to leave the peel on, look for small, delicate heirloom carrots, which have a more tender skin, and be sure to scrub them thoroughly before cooking.
Yes you can! All orange, all purple, yellow, or a mix of all the colors you can find.
What to serve with cumin roasted carrots
Try serving these roasted carrots for a holiday meal! The cumin and citrus flavors would work perfectly alongside Pomegranate and Red Wine Braised Short Ribs or Salmon with Citrus Salsa Verde. Roasted carrots also pair well with chicken, so try One-Pan Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and White Wine or Apple Cider Chicken. Make it a complete vegetarian meal when you serve them with an Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart.
Recommended tools and equipment
- Chef's knife, vegetable peeler, and cutting board: To peel and slice the carrots.
- Baking sheet: For roasting the carrots.
- Mixing bowl and whisk: To make the tahini sauce.
More vegan side dishes
Everyone at the table will be all-in for these vegan recipes.
- Since you're here for the cumin, Ottolenghi Green Bean Salad is bathed in a cumin dressing and you had me at capers and herbs. SO. MUCH. FLAVOR.
- If you like the idea of tahini with roasted vegetables, try Roasted Butternut Squash with Red Onion, Tahini, and Za'atar. This sauce is a bit different, no maple syrup and added garlic makes it more savory.
- Save those squash seeds and make them part of the dish with this Harissa Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Toasted Squash Seeds.
- Don't throw away the beet tops! Make Sautéed Beet Greens with Garlic and Crushed Red Pepper.
4 things to love about cumin roasted carrots
- Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and dairy free!
- You only need a handful of ingredients.
- Very little chopping makes for quick prep.
- Simply stir together a few ingredients for the no-cook sauce.
Oven Roasted Carrots with Tahini Sauce and Cilantro
- 2 lbs carrots
- 4.5 tablespoon olive oil divided
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon real maple syrup
- dash cayenne pepper
- fresh cilantro
- kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
- Zest and juice the lemon and set both aside.
- Peel the carrots with a vegetable peeler, and trim both ends. Slice the carrots in half lengthwise.
- Coat the carrots with 2 tablespoon of the olive oil and cumin, and season with salt. Divide the carrots between two sheet pans, laying them cut-side down
- Roast for 20 minutes, until carrots begin to get brown and caramelized. Flip the carrots over and put back in the oven, rotating the pans from top rack to bottom rack. Roast for 5 more minutes, or until carrots are cooked all the way through and browned to your liking.
- While the carrots are roasting, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.
- When carrots are done, transfer to a plate, drizzle with tahini sauce, and top with fresh cilantro and the lemon zest. Add sea salt to taste. You can serve any extra sauce on the side.
- This recipe is adapted from Adeena Sussman's cookbook, Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen.
- Tahini sometimes looks like its curdling when you mix in other liquids, but don't worry if this happens when you are stirring the sauce. Just keep going and it will smooth out.
- Try to use carrots that are similar in length and width. If you have some that are a lot thicker than others, just cut them into fourths so everything will cook evenly.
- Check out the post above for notes about choosing ingredients and to see related recipes.