These oven roasted carrots are so flavorful with sweet honey, nutty brown butter and delicious and warming spices. Combining these baked carrots with a lemony, garlicky tahini sauce and you've got the perfect side dish. Sprinkle with your favorite toppings to make it extra special!
You get a lot of flavor with minimal effort with these carrots! It's amazing how a little extra spice can make any dish more special and delicious, right.
What are Moroccan Spices?
Whenever I think of Morocco, I think of bustling markets with piles and piles of spices. The most common spices in Morocco are salt, pepper, ginger and turmeric. But Moroccan kitchens almost always also have saffron, paprika, cumin and cinnamon.
A famous spice blend in Morocco is the Ras-El-Hanout, some claim that this spice mix it has the most amount of spices in the world. It vary between households though, so some do have all the 30-40 spices, and some do not. Ras-El-Hanout frequently includes cardamom, nutmeg, star anise, mace, dried rose, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and different peppers. It is warming with some floral notes, a highly intriguing spice blend!
However, the spices I use for these roasted carrots are not Ras-El-Hanout, but rather a simplified version of Moroccan spices, with the most essential and also easily accessible spices used in Northern Africa and the Middle East.
For this recipe, you can add more spices if you want, or you can also omit spices you don't like or you don't have them. Extremely forgiving! I recommend trying with a pinch of cinnamon anyway, because that warming spice works so well with the sweet carrots. You don't need a lot!
The Best Lemony Tahini Sauce
These carrots don't need a sauce to be good. But you will still love this lemony tahini sauce, I think the creaminess from the tahini, the zesty lemon and of course more garlic make it irresistible. And it is super easy as well, you just dump all the ingredients in a food processor, and if you want it thinner - simply pour in more water. Thicker, more sesame paste (or some nuts if you're out of sesame paste).
And before you ask, sesame paste is the same as tahini. Tahini (or tahin) is made from toasted, ground sesame seeds. Turning into - yes you guessed it - a paste! It tastes a little nutty and very savory. Tahini is used extensively in the Middle East and the Mediterranean, and you should too!
Do You Peel Carrots Before Roasting?
I do, but you don't have to. You can also just rinse them and scrub them clean of debris and dirt. I do it because it's easier and I don't have to get my fragile hands wet LOL. Really, both options work well. And remember that the carrot skin also contains a lot of nutrients like vitamin C and niacin, so it would make sense to keep it on, but most of the nutrients are below the skin anyway.
How to Brown Butter
Browning butter is super easy and incredibly worth it. The butter suddenly smells nutty and becomes so flavorful. I tend to use brown butter for everything that use (or could use) melted butter, like this brown butter buttercream frosting, brown butter pumpkin rolls, pumpkin sage brown butter soup, and wild mushroom ravioli.
As you may have noticed, all these recipes are dishes that work well with warming spices like cinnamon and ginger. That is when to use brown butter!
It is easier to make brown butter in a light bottomed saucepan so you can actually see the browning. Use similar sized chunks of butter, so that everything melts evenly. Melt on medium until it smells nutty, about 7-10 minutes. I swirl the pan occasionally.
The butter will foam a bit when it is melting, but that is expected. Just keep going and swirl (or stir) the pan so you can see the browning action. Once it smells nutty, it's ready. Make sure you use all the small brown bits in the pan as well, that is where all the flavor is!
What to Serve with these Oven Roasted Carrots
These Moroccan carrots are mega delicious, but they are still 'just' a side dish. However, an extremely versatile side dish that does not have to be made just with Moroccan main dishes. My favorite pairings are:
- Chicken in a chanterelle cream sauce
- In fact, any kind of chicken, like lemon chicken, harissa chicken or Moroccan tagine
- A big juicy steak
- Lamb, for example Tandoori grilled lamb chops, lamb shanks, chimichurri lamb chops or a rack of lamb
- Iraqi Eggs and Lamb in a Tomato Sauce
- Any kind of potatoes, like scalloped potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes
- Garlic parmesan green beans (can not be too many side dishes on a plate, give me all the sides please)
- Pan fried butter brussels sprouts - a mere 10 minutes and a burst of flavor!
- Skip the butternut squash and use these carrots instead in this amazing brussels sprouts kale salad
- as a Thanksgiving side with this citrus rosemary turkey breast or orange pepper whole chicken
- or even for Christmas alongside this Norwegian halibut
Meat and potatoes, so to speak. But not just meat and potatoes! Anything you could eat boiled carrots to, use these Moroccan oven roasted carrots instead. Worth it!
Moroccan Oven Roasted Carrots with Tahini Sauce
The hardest part about this is that it takes a while to roast the carrots. And the time can vary depending on how big your carrots are and if you parboil them first. Parboiling the carrots for 5 minutes will help reduce the time, but I usually feel like avoiding the extra clean-up. Parboiling just means to boil, drain and dry before roasting.
It takes around 40-45 minutes to roast them, but sometimes it can take even longer. They are done when a sharp knife inserted in one carrot slides right out.
Start by preheating oven to 400F (200C) and then browning the butter, which takes about 7-10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the carrots. I like to chop them in quarters lengthwise because it's pretty. You can cut them any way you like, the smaller they are, the shorter the bake time. Place on a parchment layered baking sheet.
Mix honey with the spices, parsley and brown butter and drizzle over the carrots. Give it a mix and then bake! Serve with lemony tahini sauce and toppings of choice. I used pomegranate arils, crumbled feta cheese, chopped walnuts and some fresh parsley. Enjoy!
Did You Like These Moroccan Carrots? Here's More I Think You Will Like:
- Ginger Coconut Carrot Soup
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- Orange Szechuan Beef and Carrots
- Moroccan Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Garlic
- Middle Eastern Kofta Meatballs in Baharat Sauce
- Moroccan Turkey Casserole with Spinach
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