If you’re wondering if you can grill carrots, I am here to say, most emphatically, you certainly can! Actually, I highly encourage it! Today I have a short video showing how to make grilled carrots plus I have some tips so they are tender all the way through, but not overly charred. Grilled carrots, are great just plain with oil, salt and pepper, but I’ve elevated this recipe today with a few extra flavors- harissa, lemon and mint!
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Have you ever had the experience of discovering something new, then realizing that you actually see it all over the place? This happens to me with new words or phrases, or if I buy something new, then I see it everywhere. I can only assume it is my subconscious working in mysterious ways. I also assume this is a universal experience, and that it is not just me being really unobservant.
Well anyway, I bring that up because this is what happened to me with grilled carrots. The way I discovered them was this spring when I got my hands on some really lovely small carrots. I thought, “I wonder if these would work on the grill.” Sure enough, after some testing I found out that grilled carrots are wonderful! But then I realized that they already were a thing! Not only are they all over the internet, but they were even on a recent EatingWell cover (sitting right on my table in my office!)
I wanted to share a recipe for grilled carrots with you that would be flavorful, inspiring and foolproof. So I have a few tricks to share with you!
How To Grill Carrots Without Burning Them
- The Problem with Grilled Carrots: Typical grocery store carrots are larger than the carrots you see at the farmers market (or ones picked earlier in the growing season.) These fatter carrots can actually be problematic when grilled because the outside chars before the inside becomes tender. So I came up with a solution!
- Set up Grill for Indirect Heat: The number one key to great grilled carrots is to use indirect heat to your advantage. Indirect heat is when one side of the grill is hot, and the other is not. To set up your grill for indirect heat on a charcoal grill, rake the hot coals to one side before placing the grill grate on top. If you’re using a gas grill, preheat the grill first, then turn off one side of the grill just before adding the food. My gas grill has three burners, so I turned off one of them.
- First Char on The Hot Side: To give the carrots that great grilled, smoky and charred (not burnt and bitter) flavor, cook them on the hot side of the grill first. You’ll just want to rotate them every so often until they have some blackened spots here and there. Then move them onto the cool side of the grill, and close the lid. In essence you’ll be turning your grill into an oven, but they won’t be getting any darker from flames below. Tricky huh?!
Six Tips For Grilled Carrots
1. What Size Carrots To Use For Grilling:
This recipe works best with medium carrots. Two of the times I tested this I used smaller (organic) bagged grocery store carrots. I call them medium. They were about 3/4 of an inch in diameter at the widest spot. Some smaller some larger. This recipe, the amount of oil and the timing is optimized for carrots of that approximate size. Save your big wide carrots for another use, such as Carrot Ginger Soup or Moroccan Carrots.
2. If You Want To Grill Smaller Carrots:
If you can get really lovely small carrots, by all means use them. Just weigh out 2 pounds (without the greens.) You’ll also want to turn the carrots perpendicular to the grill grates so they don’t fall through!
3. Remove Greens and Peel the Carrots:
Remove the greens from your carrots when you bring them home. Read more about why and what to do with the greens here in the Ultimate Guide To Carrots. If you’ve read my tutorial on Chicken Stock, then you know that the peel of the carrots are bitter, so you’ll want to remove the peels. I use these peelers. They’re cheap and so sharp!
4. Oil the Carrots:
Before grilling, take a moment to coat the carrots in oil. This will really help develop the charring while grilling over direct heat. One tablespoon oil olive oil is plenty for medium carrots, but note that if you use smaller carrots, you will need a touch more oil in step 2. The reason is that there is more surface area (per pound) so you need more oil to coat them. Add up to two extra teaspoons of oil to make sure they are nicely coated with the oil.
5. They Won’t All Be Done At The Same Time
Because there will be a range of sizes of your carrots, you’ll want to make sure to pull the smallest ones off first and the largest ones off last. This is normal and why I have a range of cooking times (from 24 to 30 minutes total.) Note, you’ll want to use long tongs for this recipe. They are hard to move around with a spatula. These are the tongs I have used since culinary school. They are the best and totally affordable!
6. Add Flavor Once They Are Done
Once the carrots are grilled, top with flavorful ingredients. Today I used North African flavors: harissa paste, lemon and olive oil with fresh mint. But you could also use home made pesto thinned out with a little extra oil and lemon if you don’t want extra spice. Or you could go in another direction all together and drizzle on salad dressing. I think this creamy cumin seed yogurt dressing and chopped fresh oregano would be lovely!
What To Serve With Grilled Carrots
Grilled Carrots are great served hot or at room temperature.
For cooler weather this fall try my Moroccan Lamb Shank recipe. It would be amazing with the North African flavors here.
The key to grilled carrots that are tender, and not burnt, is to cook them over indirect heat. Here is a foolproof recipe for grilled carrots topped with harissa paste, lemon and mint.
2 pounds small to medium carrots, peeled and ends trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
2 teaspoons harissa paste
2 tablespoons Chopped fresh mint
- Preheat grill to medium- high heat. Turn off one burner on one side of the grill, or for charcoal fire, bank the coals to one side of the kettle.
- Toss carrots with 1 tablespoon oil, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Grill, directly over the heat, turning often until charred in spots, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer the carrots to the side of the grill with indirect heat, cover and let cook until they are tender, 17 to 20 minutes longer. Remove to a platter.
- Stir the remaining tablespoon oil, lemon juice and harissa in a small bowl. Drizzle over the carrots. Top with mint and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Medium carrots average 2/3 or 3/4 of an inch thick. For smaller carrots use up to 2 teaspoons more olive oil in step 2.
- Serving Size: about 3 carrots
- Calories: 106
- Sugar: 7 g
- Fat: 5 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 16 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 2 g
- Cholesterol: 0 g