Carrots are popular all around the world. With their distinct orange color, crisp texture, and sweet, slightly earthy flavor, they are a beloved vegetable ingredient in many dishes, from soups and stews to salads and sides. Whether you’re roasting them, shredding them for a salad, or adding them to your favorite soup or stew, these tasty root vegetables are sure to delight your taste buds. Plus, they are rich in healthy vitamins and antioxidants. Curious about best carrot recipes? Read on.
Why Are Carrots Orange?
You may be surprised that carrots weren’t always orange. In fact, the first carrots were actually purple, yellow, white, and black! It wasn’t until the 16th century that Dutch growers developed the orange carrot we know today, as a tribute to their monarchy and a symbol of their national pride.
From a scientific perspective, carrots are orange due to the presence of a pigment called beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that gives them their distinct orange color and is also converted into Vitamin A in the body, which is important for good vision and healthy skin, more about that below.
Nutritional Value And Health Benefits
Carrots are a nutrient-dense vegetable with numerous health benefits. They are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a great option for those watching their weight. According to HealthLine, two small-to-medium raw carrots (100 grams) contain:
- Calories: 41
- Water: 88%
- Protein: 0.9 grams
- Carbs: 9.6 grams
- Sugar: 4.7 grams
- Fiber: 2.8 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
And now, do you know why carrots are healthy? It’s mainly because they contain:
- Vitamin A: Important for maintaining good vision, healthy skin, and a strong immune system.
- Antioxidants such as beta-carotene and Vitamin C: These help protect the body against harmful free radicals and may lower the risk of certain types of cancer.
- A lot of fiber: Helps regulate digestion and prevent constipation.
- Potassium: Helps regulate blood pressure and supports heart health.
- Few calories: Low-calorie snack option!
What Is Baby Carrot?
Contrary to popular belief, a baby carrot is not a genetically modified or artificially produced product. It is simply a type of miniature carrot that is cut and peeled from a larger carrot. This method of preparation allows for easier and more convenient snacking and use in recipes. They are typically sold pre-packaged and are a popular snack option due to their convenience and sweet flavor. They are often used in recipes as a healthy and colorful addition to salads, dips, and other dishes.
With their sweet and slightly earthy flavor, carrots can be used in a variety of dishes, both sweet and savory. Here are a few recipe ideas to get you started:
- Carrot Cake: Combine grated carrots, flour, sugar, flax eggs, oil, spices, applesauce or pineapple, and maybe also nuts and raisins, in a mixing bowl. Pour the batter into a cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let it cool and top it with lemon buttercream frosting and crushed walnuts. Serve!
- Fries: Cut carrots into thin fry shapes, toss with olive oil and seasonings, then bake until crispy for a healthy and tasty alternative to traditional fries.
- Dressing: Blend together carrots, ginger, vinegar, and oil for a bright and flavorful salad dressing.
- Soup: Make a creamy and comforting soup by blending cooked carrots with vegetable broth, spices, and a touch of vegan cream.
- Juice: Blend with apples or oranges.
- And, of course, there is the evergreen classic: roasted carrots: Slice them and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast them in the oven, and you will get a very sweet and caramelized side dish which you can combine with any vegan food you like, such as tempeh, seitan or tofu.
Aside from their delicious taste, carrots are also incredibly good for you. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and are low in calories, making them a great addition to any healthy diet. So why not add some carrots to your next meal? I hope you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out other vegan ingredients or recipes here on Veggiepedia!