My husband and I got in a discussion the other day about carrots. Yes, carrots. For years he has picked through stir fries leaving a pile of carrots neatly on the side of his plate, which I eventually end up nabbing with my chopsticks to avoid any waste (okay, I love carrots, so I really don’t mind). But, when I made the outright statement that he doesn’t like carrots, he eminently denied it. I gave him my annoyed yet perplexed face, and he proceeded with an explanation. He claimed that most carrots just weren’t good quality. The ones that we have had in some finer restaurants are much sweeter … those, he likes.
I typically buy organic carrots (the extra $.20 for a 1 lb bag is well worth it for this high-pesticide veggie), but I proceeded to trial the baby carrots, the regular bagged carrots, and even locally grown carrots with their green leafiness still in tact. No luck. I knew the sweetness he was speaking of, but I just couldn’t seem to find it. Perhaps I am just a bit early in the year, since peak season for carrots doesn’t hit until next month. But still …
So I went online and discovered a little secret. Don’t ask me where I found it, as I merely committed the idea to memory, but it seems many chefs will sweeten the pot a bit with just a wee bit of sugar to bring out the natural sweetness in carrots without going overboard and creating a glaze.
So with this new-to-me concept and a 5-spice craving, I cranked on the oven, and threw together this lightly sweetened side dish. Though my husband wasn’t elated at first to see a big pile of carrots on his plate, he gladly devoured every last morsel …
Sweet Roasted Five-Spice Carrots
This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Vegetarian, and optionally Vegan.
12 Ounces (3/4 lb) Carrots, thickly sliced or baby carrots
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil (melted) or Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Honey (can substitute brown sugar, agave, or maple syrup)
1/2 Teaspoon Chinese Five-Spice Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
Preheat your oven to 450ºF.
Place the carrots in a large baking dish (preferably in a single layer). Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine and evenly distribute the seasonings.
Place the carrots in the oven, and allow them to bake for 15 minutes.
Remove, give them a stir, and return them to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until they are nice and roasty-toasty.