Sautéed carrots are the perfect healthy side dish. After all, carrots are packed with natural sweetness, are high in vitamins, and epitomize “crunch.”
They also look stunningly cooked up on a plate and garnished with fresh herbs, which is exactly what this recipe calls for.
Easy to make, all you need is baby carrots, lots of butter, a few fresh seasonings, and there you have it – fresh sautéed carrots ready for your next dinner or quick holiday side.
Why you will love this Carrot Side Dish.
Carrots are beautiful on a plate – It may seem like an odd choice, but I’m in love with sautéed carrots! There, I said it. Carrot side dishes aren’t always chic like asparagus or delicate like watercress, and we tend to overlook them when thinking about our favorite healthy foods.
But however boring we may have previously thought carrots are, the short prep time and ease of the recipe deserve a fresh look!
Perfect for weeknight dinners – Carrots serve amazingly with fish, poultry, or meat, and their flavor profile is extremely versatile, so you can adapt this recipe to match all sorts of different types of meals! Best of all, whatever the season, carrots are cheap and readily available.
Of course, sautéed carrots don’t have to just be for weekend dinners; served up with fresh herbs, sautéed carrots are a beautiful, easy holiday vegetable side dish that the whole family (especially fans of carrots) will appreciate!
- medium-sized regular carrots: peeled and cut to ¼” thick rounds.
- Butter: I love cooking with butter, but If you are sticking to a vegan diet, you can substitute olive oil or coconut oil for the unsalted butter.
- Fresh dill: Fresh dill adds an extra layer of flavor to any dish, especially when combined with carrots. Dried dill works too, but fresh, finely chopped, always tastes better.
- season with salt and black pepper
How to make Sauteed Carrots in Cast Iron Skillet
- Add carrots and water to a large cast iron skillet.
- Season with salt & pepper and mix well. Cover and turn to medium-high heat. Boil for 7-8 minutes or until the carrots are soft to your liking.
- Remove tender carrots from heat and stir in butter until melted.
- Season with dill, and serve.
What is stovetop sautéing?
To sauté is to cook over relatively high heat using a small amount of oil or fat. Because carrots take a while to soften, we speed up the cooking process by adding a little water to the mix.
Sautéing veggies has a lot of advantages over other cooking methods. It’s fast and convenient, and unlike roasting or baking, it doesn’t require the oven, meaning you won’t end up in a steaming-hot kitchen.
Many people are familiar with the steaming method, which is also done on the stovetop, but steaming can actually remove many of the vitamins and nutrients that are present in the vegetables, and it can be tricky not to overcook vegetables when steaming.
Sautéed vegetables not only retain their health benefits but also their crispy texture and flavor.
Can you use baby carrots or canned carrots when sautéing?
Baby carrots are delicious sautéed and will work beautifully in this recipe. I would suggest slicing them lengthwise rather than cutting them into rounds. You’ll also want to reduce the cooking time slightly because baby carrots will cook faster than mature carrots.
Canned carrots have already been cooked, and I would not recommend using them for this recipe.
Do I need to peel carrots?
Peeling carrots is a personal choice and should be considered more for the visual impact than for any health or safety reasons.
As long as carrots are washed well, there’s no need to peel them. That being said, I like to peel my carrots anytime they are going to be used raw, like in a salad, or if they are only being lightly cooked.
Can I use dried herbs when making sautéed carrots?
Of course, if you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, dried herbs will work in a pinch, although the flavor won’t be as robust. If using dried herbs, reduce the amount to only about 2-3 tsp of dried herb.
Can matchstick carrots be used?
Matchstick carrots, julienned carrots, carrot sticks – pretty much any carrot can actually be sautéed and cooked. However, that will absolutely change the timing and recipe itself, so they will need to be properly monitored for doneness depending on how many pounds of carrots you use.
How to store leftover carrots.
Seal in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Are carrots healthy?
The first thing you notice about these carrots is how bright orange they are. This vibrant color comes from the beta carotene found naturally in vegetables such as carrots. Beta carotene has been shown to help protect against cancer, so eating more veggies rich in beta carotene is one way to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
It’s important to note, though, that not everyone needs extra vitamin A, especially if you already get enough through other sources.
Cast Iron Carrot Recipe Tips and Variations.
- Best taste: When purchasing carrots, there are a few things I try to keep in mind. First, although they look pretty, I avoid carrots with stalks attached. This is because the stalk continues to pull water and nutrients from the root (carrot) even after being pulled. I also look for smaller-sized stalks, as these tend to be more flavorful than the larger stalks.
- Herbs: this recipe calls for fresh dill, but there are many different herbs that taste amazing with sautéed carrots. Try thyme, rosemary, chives, oregano, basil, or parsley for a slight variation.
- Other additions: Onions, shallots, garlic, ginger, honey or maple syrup, and citrus pair nicely with carrots.
- Test for doneness: During the cooking process, it’s important to test for doneness, so you don’t end up with overcooked carrots! Cook times can vary based on size, maturity level, and stove temperature. But be careful not to leave the lid off for long, as the steaming process is part of what is cooking your roots! Cover the pan quickly, so you don’t lose too much steam.
How to make Inspired tastes.
If you are looking to pair sautéed carrots with a meal with a specific flavor profile, try a variation that will best match your main dish:
- Asian: Add a bit of orange juice or other citrus and a couple of dashes of soy sauce with fresh or powdered garlic.
- Mediterranean: Use basil and oregano instead of dill and a couple of dashes of lemon juice.
- Indian: In place of dill, use fresh mint and add ½ tsp each of cumin and coriander.
- Mexican: Use fresh cilantro instead of dill and squeeze fresh lime juice over carrots.
Related Vegetable Side Dish Recipes
Looking for other healthy vegetarian side recipes? Here are a few of my favorite perfect side dish recipes:
- This oven-roasted crinkle-cut carrot recipe is a great way to use bagged carrots around the holiday table.
- Move over mashed potatoes; try cauliflower as an au gratin!
- Slow cook cinnamon carrots easily.
- Slightly crispy oven baked Parmesan carrots might just be your newest favorite vegetable side dish.
- Also, great for a holiday dinner, these pan fried brussels sprouts with cranberries are a great choice as a side.
- So many ways to eat potatoes! We love a roasted mini potatoes recipe; Parmesan roasted potatoes recipe, an easy fondant potato on the oven, and savory mashed sweet potatoes.
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