These Harissa Roasted Carrots served over a bed of homemade hummus are a hit in our house! Toasted hazelnuts and pomegranate add texture and a pop of brightness. This vegetarian side dish is perfect for Thanksgiving, or a regular weeknight dinner.
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Thanksgiving is such an exciting time of year. First of all, it’s all about food. And, sure, family. But the best way to enjoy time with family is over a delicious meal.
Whether you’re hosting the feast at home or traveling to a friends’ place, ensure that your meal is as tasty as possible with these harissa roasted carrots.
They’re truly the best dish to bring to Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, or just a weeknight dinner. Full of middle eastern flavors from tahini and pomegranate seeds, they’re bright, flavorful and beautiful to present.
Ever since we developed this show-stopping roast carrot recipe several years ago, it’s been a main event on our Thanksgiving table. Let’s be honest, even among carnivores, who really goes crazy for turkey on turkey day?
Why Harissa Roasted Carrots are the perfect Thanksgiving Side
First of all, the obvious: these carrots are stunning to look at. Secondly, they please all dietary concerns. This recipe is plant-based, gluten free, and nut free.
Finally, these simple roasted carrots are super easy to make. You can even make it a couple days before the holiday. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge and plan to dress them right before serving.
Also: they transport well. Simply slide the cooled roasted carrots into a glass container. All that’s left to do is a quick reheating before dinner and voila: you have the side dish to steal the show.
How to Make Perfect Roasted Carrots
The key to these flavorful roasted carrots are a few unique ingredients. As you might guess, harissa is important.
What is harissa?
Harissa is a middle eastern spice blend or paste made from red peppers. It varies in spice level, so be sure to taste yours before you add it to the carrots. For this plant based side dish, we used harissa spice powder. You can find it at Whole Foods, or online.
The rest of the flavor in these carrots comes from fresh lime juice and a bit of agave. Agave is a great natural vegan sweetener. It has a mild taste and coats vegetables like these carrots quite well. If you don’t have agave at home, you can sub in honey or maple syrup.
We’re all about the crispy, caramelized flavor that comes from a bit of charring on roasted carrots. To achieve this, without burning anything, use a moderately hot oven to roast the carrots, 400°F.
Then, flavor your peeled carrots with the harissa, lime, agave and bit of olive oil. Pop them into the hot oven until they’re fork tender and beginning to char. This should take about half an hour.
Remember, if you’re making these for a holiday and you’re short on oven space, you can make them the day before.
How to Serve Harissa Roasted Carrots
These flavorful carrots are winners on their own. However, we like to give ours a bed of creamy homemade pumpkin hummus. That part is up to you, but highly encouraged. Plus, you can always make a big batch of hummus and use the rest as a dip!
We also like to serve these carrots with a spicy tahini sauce. It’s nutty and creamy with just the right amount of spice. You can always add or remove some of that spice, depending on your tastes.
Or sometimes, if we finished the tahini by making our favorite tahini thumbprint cookies, we drizzle our harissa carrots with a cooling, tangy vegan yogurt sauce with fresh herbs. You can find a great recipe in our vegan mushroom shawarma post.
However you dress your carrots, don’t forget to add some crunch. We love the sweet pop of fresh pomegranate arils. Plus, their color really pops on a Thanksgiving plate (which can be kind of brown, with all the gravy, stuffing and potatoes).
Toss some toasted hazelnuts on top of the harissa roasted carrots for extra flavor and crunch too.
To toast hazelnuts, spread them out on a baking sheet. Bake them in a low (325°F) oven for 8-10 minutes. Watch them carefully, as nuts can burn easily!
Our go-to Thanksgiving Recipes
In addition to harissa roasted carrots, we have a few other must-have holiday dishes on the table.
- Roasted Carrot Dip on a well-stocked snack board helps tide everyone over until dinner’s ready. Plus, you can roast extra carrots for this recipe to use for your dip!
- Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Cranberry Dressing is the refreshing raw green dish that everyone needs among all the heavy food.
- To please the vegans and vegetarians around the table, we like to offer a hearty spaghetti squash gratin with wild mushrooms in place of turkey.
- We like to bring things full circle, back to pumpkin for dessert. But we’re not talking pumpkin pie. We’re digging into light and fluffy vegan Pumpkin Mousse.
We want to hear what you think. Does your family stick with traditional holiday side dishes, or do you prefer to switch things up from year to year?
Over the past few years, we’ve branched out from the classics for a refreshing take on the holiday. Even making a small change, like adding roasted garlic to your mashed potatoes, can make a huge difference. And we bet you won’t hear many complaints from the traditionalists in your family.
If you make these Harissa Roasted Carrots, we’d love for you to leave a comment and rating below! We also love to see your creations on Instagram – tag us at @crowded_kitchen so we can see what you’ve been cooking.Print
Harissa gives these carrots a hint of spice, and fresh pomegranate and herbs add a pop of brightness.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Wash carrots and trim greens. Peel if desired.
- Spread evenly on a baking sheet, then drizzle with olive oil, harissa, lime, agave, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes, until carrots are tender and slightly browned. Let cool slightly before serving. Garnish with toasted hazelnuts, pomegranate and parsley.
*To toast hazelnuts, spread 1/2 cup whole hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 325 F. Remove from oven, let cool, then chop.