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These Easy Roasted Carrots with Pecan Pesto are the perfect side dish for all your spring meals. Fresh spring carrots are roasted until soft and sweet and then tossed in a super easy pecan and spinach pesto. This recipe yields a large amount, so you’ll have plenty of leftovers to pull out during the week.
Easy Roasted Carrots
Easy Roasted Carrots with Pecan Pesto are where winter meets spring, indulgent meets healthy, and vegetables become your new best friend.
It’s that weird time, where it’s still kind of cold out, but we’re moving on to fresh, bright food things. Spring things. Which honestly, I can’t believe is already here. Because so much of the end of the year meals are all about indulgent, carb-loaded foods and sugar, I’m all about making spring a little bit healthier. Lean proteins, big salads, and lots of spring-heavy veggies.
Easy roasted carrots with pecan pesto are right at the top of that veggie list.
This version of easy roasted carrots gets a double dose of vegetables from the carrots themselves and the pecan pesto which is made with a few good handfuls of fresh baby spinach. Using spinach instead of basil lets the pecans and parmesan cheese shine though, making this easy, healthy side dish taste just a touch rich and cheesy. And totally spring worthy.
Ingredients in Easy Roasted Carrots
Because we’re talking about all good things, I should mention the recipe for these easy roasted carrots is not only delicious and healthy, but affordable too, because you can get everything at ALDI. And if you haven’t hopped on the ALDI bandwagon yet, what are you waiting for??
I’m obsessed with them, and have turned many a friends and family on to their not-so-secret, secret of awesome, high-quality, but affordable groceries. I love that they always have seasonal produce – organic and non-organic. I love their selection of nuts and dried fruits. And I’m borderline obsessed with their cheese selection. It’s sooo good you guys.
Some of my favorite ingredients you can find at ALDI are all in the recipe for these roasted carrots they are:
Fresh whole carrots. These guys come in a variety of different packages, but my favorite is to buy them whole, peel them and use them throughout the week. In the case of today’s easy roasted carrots with pecan pesto, we use not only one, but three two-pound bags of carrots. I told you this recipe feeds a crowd.
Simply Nature Organic Olive Oil. This is an ingredient I always have on hand, and one that’s an awesome value at ALDI. I go through a ton of olive oil as a food blogger, so I really need something affordable I can keep buying over and over. The flavor is mild so you can use it in virtually everything, but also has a lovely olive note to it that’s great in salad dressings as well.
We are going to use the olive oil two ways in this roasted carrot recipe. First to roast the carrots. Second, to make the pesto.
Ingredients in Spinach Pecan Pesto
Simply Nature Organic Baby Spinach. Another go-to product. Spinach and other greens are an area in our grocery routine where I really try to go organic, so I buy this ALL THE TIME. I keep baby spinach on hand to make smoothies, throw a few handfuls into my scrambled eggs, and sauté it up with garlic to serve with my favorite shrimp.
Parmesan cheese. This is also something I keep on hand so I can make last minute parmesan pasta or a million other quick, easy recipes. Our spinach pecan pesto is nothing without it. Don’t leave it out!
Lemons. I’m starting to think I keep quite a few things on hand. But I really do always have lemons. I like to put them in my water, make salad dressings, and squeeze it over grilled chicken.
Garlic. A well-stocked fridge is nothing without a little bit of garlic. ALDI garlic comes in packages of three, which is nice to keep on hand.
Southern Grove Chopped Pecans. Another great staple pantry item. I use pecans in salads, as a garnish on side dishes, and I love to swap out traditional pine nuts for pecans in pesto.
How to make Roasted Carrots with Pecan Pesto
Cut the carrots. You could roast the carrots whole, but I really like to slice them for easy serving and eating. Make sure you don’t slice them too thin, you want them to be soft, but still have a slight bite to them. I like to cut them about 1/3-inch thick.
Prep the carrots. Getting the carrots prepped is as easy as throwing them in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread them on a large rimmed baking sheet and pop into a 425-degree oven.
Make the pesto. While the carrots cook, make the pesto. Add the pecans to a small baking sheet and toast them for about 4-5 minutes. Just until they smell fragrant. DO NOT BURN!
Throw the pecans, spinach, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and parmesan cheese into the bottom of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture becomes a paste. Turn the mixer on and slowly add in the olive oil.
Scrape the sides down and pulse again until blended. I like to leave a little bit of texture, so try not to puree the pesto.
Assemble. When the carrots come out of the oven, add back to the bowl you used earlier. Spoon the pesto over and stir.
What happens is, the hot carrots almost melt the pesto and consequently, coat the carrots beautifully. Season them to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with extra grated or shredded parmesan and chopped pecans if you want.
How can I prep these carrots ahead of time?
If you want to prep these ahead of time, here’s what I’d do:
- Slice the carrots, store in a plastic baggie.
- Make the pesto. Place in a jar and spoon enough olive oil on top to cover the pesto. Cover with an airtight lid. This will keep it from oxidizing and turning from vibrant and beautiful to dull and brownish.
- When you’re ready to serve, spoon off the olive oil off the top. Roast the carrots and assemble as directed.
- You could also roast the carrots, cool them, and store in an airtight container separately from the pesto. When you’re ready to serve gently reheat the carrots in the oven in a 325-degree oven and then toss with the pesto as instructed.
Can I make these roasted carrots from start to finish ahead of time?
You can, yes. I do want to warn you, that while they will still taste delicious, pesto tends to lose it’s pretty vibrant color if you warm it up and then let it cool down.
Can I reduce the recipe?
Yes! This easy roasted carrot recipe makes a lot. Six pounds of carrots, which feeds about 12-15 people. If you want to size it down, just make two pounds, that should be enough for four people. I would recommend making the entire batch of pesto, because you can slather that good stuff on just about anything. Eggs, pizza, al dente pasta. It will not go to waste, promise!
Can you use this method with different vegetables?
Sure! I happen to love the combination of carrots with pecan pesto here, but other veggies would be great. Brussels sprouts, zucchini, or even roasted broccoli.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Do not overcook the carrots. Pull them out when they are slightly brown, soft, but not mushy. It shouldn’t take long, about 15-20 minutes.
- Try to keep a little bit of texture in the pesto. Pulse as needed to combine everything.
- The pecan pesto is totally customizable. Love citrus? Add more lemon juice. Love cheese, add more. Want extra texture, throw in a few more pecans. You get the idea. Whatever goes.
- Like any simple recipe, you want to make sure to season at every step. We included a measurement for salt in both the roasting of the carrots and the pesto, but season to suit your taste.
What to serve with Roasted Carrots
- This Spinach Stuffed Chicken is healthy, low-carb and would be perfect with these roasted carrots.
- I’m in love with these Salmon Cakes. They’re crispy, packed with salmon and little filler, and so good.
- If you’re looking for something slightly indulgent to serve with these Roasted Carrots, this Creamy Chicken with Olives and Sun-dried Tomatoes would be perfect.
Easy Roasted Carrots with Pecan Pesto
Easy Roasted Carrots with Pecan Pesto are the perfect side dish for all your spring meals. Fresh spring carrots are roasted until soft and sweet and then tossed in a super easy pecan and spinach pesto. The recipe yields quite a bit, so you’ll have plenty of leftovers to nibble on the rest of the week.
- 6 lbs whole carrots
- 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 2 cups packed baby spinach
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Peel carrots and slice into 1/3-inch pieces on a bias. Add carrots, 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a large bowl. Toss to combine.
Spread on two large rimmed baking sheets. (You want to put them on two so they roast and don't steam.) Roast for 8 minutes, and use a spoon to toss the carrots. Roast another 8-10 minutes until carrots are slightly brown and soft, but not mushy.
While the carrots cook, make the pesto. Spread the pecans on a small baking sheet or skillet. Place in the oven and roast for 5 minutes until slightly toasted. Add to the food processor. Once the nuts are cool, add the spinach, garlic, parmesan cheese, and lemon juice to the food processor as well. Pulse until the mixture becomes a loose paste. While pulsing the mixer, slowly drizzle in remaining three tablespoons of olive oil. Scrape the sides of the processor down and pulse one more time. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
When the carrots are done, transfer to the same bowl you used earlier. Add the pesto. Toss until the carrots are completely coated. Season with salt and pepper. If desired, garnish with pecans and parmesan.