11 Ways You Never Thought To Use Carrots Before

Silly rabbit, carrots are for everyone. Here are some of their endless uses.

Once children learn that eating three carrot sticks at lunch every day will not give them the eyesight of Superman (a lie my father told me), many cast aside the root vegetable forever, perhaps begrudgingly eating a few medallions at Thanksgiving, but nothing more. Even people who like carrots seem to eat them the same few ways all the time: raw with dip, roasted as a side, or snuck into cake. There's nothing wrong with any of those preparations, but the mild flavor of carrots makes them incredibly versatile, and we don't talk enough about all that they can accomplish in your recipes. Here are 11 novel uses for carrots that you can incorporate into your next meal.

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Carrot soups and broth

Since much of a typical chicken or beef broth's flavor comes from animal tissue, making vegetarian broth can often yield a bland product. But carrots lend a mild sweetness that works well in dishes like minestrone, and sauteing the vegetables before simmering them for the broth can deepen the overall flavor of the final result. For a dish that requires even less work, try this carrot soup, which only has five ingredients and makes use of the microwave.

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Carrot spreads and dips

Usually we roast carrots and eat them in their original shape as a side dish, but because roasting lends them a softer, more malleable consistency, you can consider roasting the first step on your way to a dozen other intriguing preparations. For example, you can roast them, mash them, and make a hummus-like spread for an elegant appetizer. You can roast them and turn them into a spicy dip, which you can then turn into a meta meal by dipping carrots into it. You can even turn roasted carrots into pasta sauce.

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Smoothies

Smoothie people—that is, people who enjoy smoothies, not people made of smoothies—often use carrot juice in their concoctions to tone down the fruity notes or distract from the spinach-green goopiness. Carrots are a crowd-pleasing go-between that bridge the vegetal notes of a smoothie with the sweet ones. And if you're just looking for a smoothie that satisfies your daily veggie intake and doesn't taste like anything, you can go ahead and try this recipe.

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Pickled carrots

You can pickle pretty much anything, of course, but pickled carrots add a nice variety to a pickle board, which is, apparently, a real thing. They can end up more subtle than a pickled cucumber, and the softer texture of a carrot might be more pleasant to some people. Here's a recipe for quick pickles that lets you use the bagged baby carrots already in your fridge rather than scrubbing and peeling whole ones.

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Barbecue-style carrots

While carrots frequently make the rounds at barbecues in the form of crudites or coleslaw, this recipe uses the flavors of barbecue on roasted carrots to evoke a summer cookout alongside a cozier menu. You can also grill carrots with any number of zesty glazes to play up their meatiness—unsurprising, since we know carrot bacon is a thing.

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Carrot fritters

Fritters are often made of shredded potatoes, or maybe your mind zooms straight to the sweet doughnut variety made with applies. But these savory carrot fritters come together in an easy batter, and provided you can get the frying temperature right, they come out crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Topped with a soft egg or served alongside scrambled eggs, these are a satisfying breakfast, but could also form the basis for a crowd-pleasing dinner.

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Carrot tarts

Another natural addition to a fancy brunch, a savory carrot tart is an easy option for entertaining, especially when you go for high-quality store-bought puff pastry. Using carrots of different colors can result in a lovely pattern, but you don't have to get that elaborate if you don't want to.

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Carrot souffles

My mother made us a carrot souffle once as a sweet side dish in order to trick us into eating more vegetables. It has a similar vibe to the type of sweet potato casserole you might eat on Thanksgiving in that it's orange and sweet, and it really does taste like a dessert, so you could certainly serve it as such. Alternatively, make it as a brunch side paired with eggs.

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Carrot blondies

Sometimes—though, admittedly, I don't know when—you're not in the mood for a brownie and would prefer her blonde sister. This recipe for carrot blondies, based on the Southeast Asian recipe for carrot halwa pudding, is a clever twist on a classic and results in a deliciously moist dessert.

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Carrot crepes

You can use a carrot crepe for any sweet or savory crepe dish, as the not-so-sweetness of the carrot doesn't steal the show or overwhelm you with a sugar bomb. It can be a bit of an art to get the right thickness while not ripping the delicate crepes, but if you can master it, crepes are a versatile and yummy addition to many dishes, in place of bread products like toast, tortillas, and pita.

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Carrot jams

Carrot jam can be the "barely sweet" kind of classy jam that makes you want to buy a baguette, drink tea, and revel in your superiority. It's similar to making any other jam, and it offers both variety and a pop of color when it comes to homemade food gifts.

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