Buttery sautéed carrots are a quick and easy side dish that goes with so many things. With a hint of maple syrup to enhance their natural sweetness, the rich taste of butter, and a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten it all up, this might become your new favorite way to make carrots.
It's almost Easter and in my opinion no Easter spread is complete without carrots. Whether in the form of these favorite brown sugar glazed carrots, or a classic carrot cake, carrots are are an unmissable spring staple!
You might not think of carrots as a vegetable you'd normally sauté, since they're pretty hard and it takes a little more cooking to make them tender than other vegetables. But it's totally possible, really quick, and so worth it.
The tricks are:
- slice them thinly so they cook quickly and evenly, and
- steam them a little first. Don't worry about the steaming part, it's all done in the same pan and adds a grand total of 7 minutes to the cooking time! Steaming and sautéeing are also some of the best ways to cook vegetables and retain their nutritional value.
These simple sautéed carrots are made with just a few ingredients. Let's go over them.
- Carrots: For this recipe, I like to go with larger carrots. This is because I cut them into thin (¼ inch) coins, so the bigger the diameter, the more carrot you'll get in each piece without increasing the cooking time. If your carrots are thinner, you can slice them on the bias (diagonally) to get larger pieces that aren't too thick. Whatever you do, try to cut them into equal pieces so they cook evenly.
- Butter: I love the rich taste that butter gives these carrots, but if you want to go healthier, or if you want to make this a vegan dish, just use olive oil, or any other oil you like instead.
- Maple Syrup: I'm French Canadian, so maple syrup makes an appearance in a lot of my recipes from muffins to salads! It's a wonderful, flavorful natural sweetener that also happens to be vegan. Feel free to use honey instead, or brown sugar works great too. Just a tablespoon in these carrots brings out their sweetness to perfection.
- Parsley: Parsley is a kind of mild, neutral tasting herb that makes this side go with pretty much anything. But you have plenty of other options here. If you're serving these with a meat main, thyme goes especially well with chicken. Rosemary with beef, and mint is fantastic with lamb. I've included some suggestions for main dishes a little further down!
- Lemon juice: Just a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice brightens everything up. A little goes a long way!
How to make sautéed carrots
- Cut 1.5 lbs of large carrots into ¼ inch thick coins. If your carrots are on the thinner side, you can cut them on the bias to make large pieces that are still thin.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan with a lid over medium heat and add the carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add a ¼ cup of water. Toss to combine and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium low and cover with the lid. Steam the carrots for 7-8 minutes.
- As soon as you can pierce the carrots with fork (they should be crisp-tender at this stage, be careful not to overcook them),
- add the butter and stir to combine.
- Sauté the carrots in the butter until all the water is evaporated, about 2-3 minutes longer.
- Sprinkle with parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice (about 2 teaspoons). Stir to combine and serve.
What goes well with these sautéed carrots?
- Pork loin roast: Sooooo tender and juicy, this boneless pork loin roast with an orange and cranberry glaze makes a beautiful and affordable holiday centerpiece.
- Roasted chicken and potatoes: Any kind of roasted chicken is pretty much begging for a side of sautéed carrots. But especially this one with potatoes and a sun dried tomato pesto.
- Maple soy glazed pork chops: The flavor of these chops is way more than the sum of its parts!
- Roasted chicken breasts with boursin: Possibly the world's easiest chicken recipe.
Easy Buttery Sautéed Carrots
- 1.5 lbs large carrots peeled and cut into ¼ inch coins*
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup *
- squeeze of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- In a large pan with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the carrots, salt, pepper and water and toss to combine.
- Bring to a boil and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 7-8 minutes until the carrots are crisp tender and can be just pierced with a fork.
- Remove the lid and add the butter and maple syrup. Sauté for 2 more minutes or so until all the water is evaporated.
- Remove from heat and add the chopped parsley, a squeeze of lemon juice and an extra pinch of salt and pepper if desired. Toss to coat and serve.