If you want a super sweet and sticky, mushy carrot, turn yourself right around. This isn’t the recipe for you. If you want a delicately maple-y, slightly smoky carrot side dish recipe that is comforting but still has a sense of refinement ( and NO added sugar ) … you’ve come to the right place.
Although I’m totally down with the classic maple glazed carrot side dish that we’ve all grown up with, the older I get, the more I find myself looking to refine holiday classics into more adult-palate-friendly flavors.
Which is to say, for the most part, I like to save my sugar for booze and dessert, and not my vegetable side dishes.
But we can still have some fun, right?
A little hit of maple and butter, without the added sugar from a heavy glaze, make these carrots sing. You can taste the natural … I don’t know …. carrot-ness of it all?
Yes, that’s it: the carrotness of it all!
After all, it is a carrot side dish! Shouldn’t we celebrate the flavors?
And really, a little bacon for fun makes it feel like the holidays. Thanksgiving, in particular, calls for that slight decadence a few strips of bacon in with the veggies gives you.
Roasting vegetables is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself when making a big holiday dinner. Particularly roasted vegetables that come together on one pan after some light chopping.
Speaking of chopping! For Thanksgiving, I like to use big carrots for this dish, and intentionally do not make all of my carrots the same size.
Why? Because items of the same size cook at the same rate. That is exactly what you want when making this for yourself and maybe immediately family ( so when I’m making carrots for that group, I slice the bigger pieces in half to get a nice even cook.) .
However, letting the pieces cook a little unevenly on a holiday is actually something I really like to do. It means that if someone does want a bite of carrot ( but perhaps doesn’t quite care for it cooked the way I prefer my bigger pieces to be ), they can still enjoy a little end piece that cooked more than the others.
Being considerate: it’s what’s for dinner!
Looking for some other familiar but updated holiday recipes? Try these:
- 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced into 1" pieces
- 4 slices bacon, sliced into ½" pieces
- 4 Tablespoons Maple Syrup ( the real stuff )
- 2 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Toss the carrots, bacon, maple syrup, melted butter, and salt together until the carrots are coated with the syrup and butter.
- Spread it all evenly on a baking sheet with a raised edge or lip ( so the syrup doesn't run off while baking ). Do your best to have all of the bacon pieces directly on the pan and not on top of the carrots. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, give it all a stir to recoat the carrots, and place back in the oven to bake for another 15 minutes. Serve!