These Harissa and Honey Glazed Rainbow Carrots are probably the most comforting carrots you'll ever eat. They oven roast for about an hour in olive oil, which allows them to soften and caramelize beautifully. They then soak in a perfectly balanced sweet and spicy agrodolce glaze. That flavor profile is really magical. Finally, topping them with fresh parsley and feta gives them a pop of freshness. Absolutely scrumptious.
Since carrots are root vegetables, they thrive during fall and winter months. Plus, roasting is an inherently cool-weather activity when you have no problem using the oven.
However, these Glazed Rainbow Carrots are truly wonderful all year long. That's because you can also make them on the grill in the summer when you don't feel like turning on the oven.
I should also note that I have made these carrots a for many a holiday meal and potluck. They're such a hit at Thanksgiving especially, because they add both brightness and a little spice and acidity to an otherwise bland spread. (I don't mean bland in a bad way. Thanksgiving food is simply not the most flavorful)
A simple side dish like this is a great way to add a little spice to the holiday table without veering too far from tradition.
How to make Glazed Rainbow Carrots:
These roasted carrots are really easy to make because most of their cook time takes place in the oven. They require very little prep work or hands-on cooking. You just long-roast the carrots until they're soft and caramelized, then toss them in their sweet and spicy harissa honey glaze.
You can find the simple ingredients needed to make these Honey Harissa Glazed Carrots in most supermarkets.
- Rainbow Carrots or Rainbow Heirloom Carrots. I get mine at Trader Joe's. If you don't have a Trader Joe's, check your local farmers markets or grocery stores.
- Fresh Garlic Cloves
- Lemon juice and zest
- Extra virgin olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- Black pepper
- Feta Cheese
See recipe card for full amounts. And see substitutions below for optional swaps.
Step 1: Toss the peeled carrots and crushed garlic cloves in the olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Roast them on a sheet pan for 1 hour at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, tossing them once half way through roasting. (about 30 minutes in)
Step 2: While the carrots are roasting, make the harissa honey glaze by combining harissa, honey, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Then just set it aside until the carrots finish roasting.
Step 3: When the Carrots are done cooking, toss them in the spicy sweet glaze and top them with crumbled feta and chopped parsley.
- Whenever making glazed vegetables, do NOT cook them directly in the glaze. The sugars in most glazes (honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, etc) will burn in the oven.
- If using the smaller heirloom style carrots, leave the green tops on for a more sophisticated appearance.
- Use silicon tongs to keep the carrots from breaking when you toss them in the honey harissa sauce. Metal tongs are too strong and will dent your beautiful rainbow carrots.
Why Rainbow Carrots?
Like I said, you can definitely make this glazed rainbow carrots recipe using regular carrots.
But the rainbow carrots are more complex in flavor, plus the different colors are more visually exciting.
You can easily taste the nuances in each carrot's flavor. My favorite tasting carrot is yellow. In terms of appearance, I love the purple carrots and their yellow interior.
In short, I highly recommend using them especially when cooking for special occasions. Guests love them.
What is Harissa?
If you've never cooked with harissa before, this is a great opportunity to try it. Harissa is a seasoned crushed chili paste common in North African and Middle Eastern cuisines. You can learn more about harissa from Suzy at The mediterranean Dish, and even use her harissa recipe to make some to keep in the fridge.
Or you can buy it at your local grocery store like I do. It's quite similar to crushed Calabrian chili peppers, one of my favorite sources of spice.
Instead of Rainbow Carrots: Use regular orange carrots or even baby carrots if that's all you can find. You can also use a mix of different carrots, as long as you ensure they're all around the same thickness so they cook evenly. Another option is to use parsnips!
Instead of honey: Use maple syrup. Maple roasted carrots are a classic flavor profile.
Instead of harissa: Use chopped Calabrian chili peppers, sambal oleak, or any other moderately spicy chili pepper spread you like.
Instead of parsley: There are two options for swapping the herbs. You can either top the carrots with different leafy fresh herbs such as mint or cilantro. OR you can roast the carrots with a couple sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary.
Dairy free: Leave off the feta! Without the cheese, the carrots will be slightly less hearty. Plus they wont look quite as show stopping. So add a different topping like toasted pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, or even your favorite vegan cheese.
Less spicy: If you're cooking for picky eaters or kids with a low spice tolerance, you can leave out the Harissa, or just use half of the amount. (½ tablespoon)
More spicy: Roast the carrots with a pinch of crushed red pepper. This allows them to soak up some spicy flavor while cooking before you even glaze them in the spicy glaze.
Scaling the Recipe
This recipe calls for for 1 pound of carrots and feeds about 4 as a side dish. You can double or triple the recipe if cooking for more people or meal prepping for the week. Leftovers reheat really well, so you'll be left with a delicious side for a few days worth of weeknight dinners.
Storing your Leftover Glazed Rainbow Carrots
Pack your leftover colorful carrots into an airtight container but let them come down to room temperature before loading them into the refrigerator. They'll keep for about a week. To reheat, just microwave them for 1 minute at a time when ready to reheat them.
Making them in Advance
When preparing these carrots for a dinner party, you can make them several hours in advance. Do everything except for topping them with the feta and parsley.
When you're ready to serve them, put them back in a hot oven (450F) for 5-10 minutes, then top with the feta and parsley right before serving.
Visually Stunning rainbow carrots, slow roasted until soft and caramelized, tossed in a bright sweet and spicy glaze, then topped with fresh herbs and feta cheese.
- 1 lb rainbow carrots, peeled
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
- ¼ c olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- 1 tablespoon honey
- The juice of ½ of a lemon, plus its zest
- 3 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled by hand
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 375F. Toss the peeled carrots and smashed garlic in the olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Roast for 50 minutes, taking them out half way through to toss them and return them to oven.
- While the carrots are cooking make the honey harissa glaze by whisking together the harissa, honey, and lemon juice.
- When the carrots are done roasting, add the harissa glaze to the pan and toss to coat.
- Plate the carrots and top with the parsley and feta. Enjoy!
Keywords: honey harissa carrots, roasted harissa carrots