If you're looking for an easy side dish that is sure to impress, look no further! Sweet, caramelized roasted carrots served with a spicy harissa aioli (shortcut version!) are a great side for just about any protein. Serve with baked or grilled chicken, salmon, shrimp or anything else your heart desires!Print
If you're looking for an easy side dish that is sure to impress, look no further! Sweet, caramelized roasted carrots served with a spicy harissa aioli (shortcut version!) are a great side for just about any protein. Serve with baked or grilled chicken, salmon, shrimp or anything else your heart desires!
- 1-2 lbs carrots
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup mayo (store-bought or homemade)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced or grated
- 1 tablespoon harissa paste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Wash carrots really well and dry. I don’t peel my carrots, but you can if you’d like to. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer and take for 30-40 minutes, turning once, until cooked through and caramelized. The time will depend on the size of your carrots, so start checking around 20 minutes or so.
- While carrots roast, make the harissa aioli: Combine ¼ cup mayo, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 grated garlic clove, 1 tablespoon harissa paste and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Whisk really well to combine and emulsify. Alternatively, you can blend everything together in a blender or food processor.
- Remove carrots from oven and drizzle with harissa aioli, or pour into a small bowl for dipping.
- These are great hot or at room temperature!
Side dishes are often the hardest for me to dream up because my mind is generally full of ideas for hearty, comforting MEALS. Curries, stews, pastas - it's all in here! A side of vegetables? Eh, that takes me a little longer sometimes. But that makes it even more exciting when I think of something that I can't wait to make!
This dish makes me feel like a cheater for two reasons, but I do hope you'll forgive me:
- Roasting carrots turns them so unbelievably sweet and delicious, it almost doesn't feel right.
- My harissa aioli is a total cheater's shortcut. I'M SORRY, but I promise I'll explain myself.
Roasted carrots = dinner candy
I dare you to tell me I'm wrong. As vegetables go, raw carrots are pretty sweet. So obviously the oven will just bring out the sweetness as carrots roast and caramelize, right? RIGHT.
I love to use the bag of multi-colored carrots from Trader Joe's, not just because of the beautiful colors, but also the size is just perfect. Just a little oil and salt and you're good to go. Let those babies roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping once, until browned, tender and sweet.
If regular carrots are all you have, that's just as great! I rarely peel my carrots, but use your discretion and peel if you'd like. For the big carrots, I like to cut them in half lengthwise so you have a nice flat surface that will get super caramelized in the oven. If they are really long, feel free to cut those in half the other way too.
And look, if carrots aren't your thing, the harissa aioli is great on other roasted vegetables. I've got a few suggestions below in the ingredients section, but I can tell you right now roasted cauliflower is a total win here!
Making harissa "aioli"
Here's the thing: I've tried making real, traditional aioli with garlic and oil...and I have failed every single time. I'm not giving up, but I clearly needed another option.
And yes, I could have just mixed together the harissa paste and mayo...but what's the fun in that?!
Using equal parts mayo and olive oil gives me the creamy texture a perfectly emulsified aioli would, along with the delicious olive oil flavor. From there, I'm just adding some raw garlic (grate it in for ease!), lemon juice and the star of the show, harissa paste
If you're not familiar, harissa paste is a chili paste used in a lot of North African and Middle Eastern dishes. Generally, it's filled with a variety of chilis, spices like cumin and coriander, garlic and vinegar. It's spicy, tangy and SO flavorful. The spice level tends to vary based on the brand you buy, so definitely try a little taste before you start cooking with it.
(If you are interested in making your own harissa paste, check out this recipe from The Mediterranean Dish.)
Once you try this spicy harissa aioli, you'll want to put it on everything. Sky's the limit with this one.
What to serve roasted carrots and harissa aioli with
I've got ideas!
- Crispy roasted chicken thighs with hot honey
- Creamed spinach chicken skillet
- Cherry barbecue ribs
- Cherry chipotle chicken
- Sambal oelek shrimp lettuce wraps
What you'll need
We're talking 5 ingredients (well, minus the salt and olive oil) with this one!
Carrots: As mentioned above, I love to use slightly smaller carrots I find at Trader Joe's, but regular carrots are just fine. If you'd like to try this with another type of roasted vegetable, please do! Roasted cauliflower, potatoes, squash and brussels sprouts would all be amazing here.
Olive oil: A few tablespoons will be tossed with the carrots to ensure they get super caramelized in the oven, and the rest is combined with mayo to create a shortcut aioli.
Mayo: I really like to make my own, but store-bought is just as good here.
Harissa paste: THE STAR. I am able to find harissa paste at most grocery stores these days, but you can also find it at Middle Eastern grocers or even online. While you'll only need a tablespoon or two here, keep the jar in the fridge and add a spoonful to soups, marinades and more for great flavor in lots of dishes (I've got a couple of ideas for you below!).
Garlic: Traditional aioli is made with garlic, so here we are. It'll stay raw so just one clove is enough.
Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice adds a little tang to the aioli that perfectly balances the spicy harissa and sweet carrots.
Just a few ingredients and you've got a super delicious, balanced and flavorful side dish that goes with just about anything. Enjoy!
Need ideas for leftover ingredients?
If you bought a jar of harissa paste for this recipe (thank you!), here are a few more ways you can use it:
- Stuffed sweet potato with crispy chickpeas and harissa yogurt (cooking for one)
- Creamy tomato lentil soup
- Harissa is also traditionally found in shakshuka and is a great add to my caramelized shallot shakshuka