Let me start by saying this recipe might be your new fav way to eat your veggies. These caramelized garlic carrots are perfectly tender, a little sweet, and drizzled with a fresh, spicy, creamy jalapeño cilantro yogurt sauce that’s lick-the-plate good.
I originally tested this recipe last year using sweet potato, and while it was tasty, the texture and flavor of the carrots were truly unbeatable. We couldn’t stop nibbling on little bites throughout the day and kept going back to dip into that incredible green sauce. I topped these with cilantro, mint and basil, which I highly recommend sticking to because each bite is a serious flavor explosion with the fresh herbs.
Skip the boring boiled carrots or green beans and get ready to wow everyone (I mean EVERYONE) with this amazing carrot dish. More sauce options and ways to turn it into the perfect salad are in the full post!
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Everything you’ll need to make these caramelized garlic carrots
There are 3 amazing components to this caramelized garlic carrot salad: the deliciously caramelized carrots themselves, a spicy jalapeño cilantro dressing, and beautiful garnishes that pull the dish together. Here’s what you’ll need:
- For the carrots: we’re giving the carrots a deep caramelized flavor by cooking them with butter, lots of garlic, and honey or maple syrup. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper, too.
- For the dressing: this spicy jalapeño dressing is the perfect complement to the sweet carrots. It’s made with fresh cilantro, greek yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, a little sugar, garlic, a jalapeño, and plenty of salt and pepper.
- To garnish: remember to garnish those babies with fresh torn basil, cilantro and mint! The fresh, herby combo is SO delicious paired with the sweet and spicy flavors. I also like to add chopped honey roasted peanuts or cashews and red chili flakes.
Customize your carrots
These caramelized garlic carrots are incredible as-is, but they’re easy to customize to your taste preferences as well!
- Make them vegan: use maple syrup instead of honey in the carrots themselves, then feel free to use a dairy free yogurt in the dressing or try my Jalapeño Green Tahini Sauce.
- Reduce the heat: if you’re sensitive to spice, simply de-seed your jalapeño and skip the red chili flakes on top.
- Go refined sugar free: in place of the white sugar in the dressing you can also use coconut sugar.
Experiment with different veggies
We originally tested these caramelized carrots using sweet potato, which also worked! I preferred the texture of the carrots, but sweet potato or even cubed butternut squash would be a great alternative if you have either on hand.
Let’s talk dressing
This incredible jalapeño cilantro dressing adds fresh flavor, creaminess and a kick of heat to the carrots. Please note you might have extra dressing, but it will stay good in the fridge for up to 1 week. Feel free to use it as a dip, sauce for roasted veggies, or even as a yummy chicken or shrimp marinade. It also makes a fabulous salad dressing, too! You could also try my:
- Jalapeño Green Tahini Sauce (V)
- Cilantro Lime Dressing (V)
- Jalapeño Cashew Cream Sauce (V)
- Avocado Lime Sauce
- Cilantro Pistachio Pesto (V)
Our favorite way to boost this carrot salad
If you want to make this salad go a bit further, I suggest adding 3-4 cups of arugula onto the platter before you top it with the warm carrots. Then finish with the dressing and garnishes and enjoy! You can even add your favorite proteins like cooked chicken or salmon for a full meal.
Make this dish ahead of time
Save time over the holidays and prep this carrot dish 1-2 days ahead of time by:
- Slicing your carrots storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator
- And then mixing the dressing together and storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator as well
That way you can wake up, cook the carrots, drizzle the dressing, garnish and serve!
Store any leftover carrots in an airtight container in the refrigerator and feel free to enjoy straight from the fridge as a cold salad once you’ve added the dressing.
More Thanksgiving recipes to serve
- Scallion Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Mushrooms
- Crispy Smashed Potatoes
- Dad’s Creamy & Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes
- The Best Homemade Healthy Green Bean Casserole
- Winter Roasted Butternut Squash Black Lentil Salad with Grapes + Arugula
- Maple Glazed Carrots with Goat Cheese & Pistachios
Get all of our amazing Thanksgiving recipes here, and tips for hosting here!
I hope you love these caramelized garlic carrots! If you make them be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked them. Enjoy, xo!
Caramelized Garlic Carrots with Spicy Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
Flavorful caramelized garlic carrots with a creamy, spicy cilantro yogurt sauce. Fresh cut carrots are cooked in butter, sliced garlic cloves, and a touch of sweetener then drizzled with a lovely green dressing and garnished with lots of fresh herbs. An amazing vegetarian side dish that feels fancy and might be your new fav way to eat carrots!
- For the carrots:
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 pound carrots, cut diagonally into ½ inch slices
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- Spicy Jalapeno Cilantro Dressing:
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro (a big handful)
- ¼ cup plain greek yogurt
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar (or sub coconut sugar)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 small jalapeno (do not seed if you want it spicy)*
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Optional: 1-2 teaspoons water, to thin sauce if necessary
- To garnish:
- Fresh torn basil, cilantro and mint
- Chopped honey roasted peanuts or cashews (about 2-3 tablespoons)
- Red chile flakes
Make the dressing: add ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend/process until well combined. Dressing should be able to be drizzled but not too thick. If necessary add a teaspoon or two of water to thin the dressing. Set aside in the fridge until you are done and ready to put over the salad.
Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a large skillet and place over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add in the carrots and salt; stirring well to coat the carrots.
Cover the skillet and cook for 10-15 minutes, removing the cover and stirring occasionally to prevent carrots from burning. After 10-15 minutes, remove the cover, add in the garlic and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for 10 more minutes or until carrots are fork tender.
Once carrots are tender, add in maple syrup or honey and cook for a few more minutes. Transfer carrots to a platter or pretty large shallow bowl and drizzle with a few tablespoons of dressing. Add torn basil, mint and cilantro on top and garnish with honey roasted peanuts or cashews and if you’d like, some red chili flakes. Serve warm, but honestly I also LOVE this salad cold and mixed with arugula and quinoa for leftovers.
To make vegan: use maple syrup instead of honey for the carrots, and a dairy free yogurt for the dressing or swap for my Jalapeño Green Tahini Sauce.
Optional: if you want to make this salad go a bit further, I suggest adding 3-4 cups of arugula onto the platter before you top with the warm carrots, then finish with the dressing and garnishes.
Please note you might have extra dressing, but it will stay good in the fridge for up to 1 week. Feel free to use it as a dip, sauce for roasted veggies or even as a yummy chicken or shrimp marinade. It also makes a fabulous salad dressing, too!
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
Whoa! These carrots absolutely blew my mind. My husband and I always exchange feedback after making new recipes, “what would we do differently? We didn’t we like?” We both agree this recipe is perfect. Star of the show!
Aw thank you, Amanda!! I’m SO happy you guys loved these.
Delicious! We did not have roasted nuts, so we roasted chickpeas and added those for extra crunch. Loved the flavor with mint, cilantro and basil leaves on top – and of course roasted red pepper flakes!
Omg I made these tonight and they are AMAZING. I was literally awestruck. Monique you are a culinary genius 💜
Ahhh I’m so glad you tried them! Thank you!
Oh my good gravy! Just made this recipe and the carrots barely made it to the serving plate, SO GOOD!!!
Ahh love this! So glad you are loving this recipe ❤️
Delicious! My son who is super picky loved it. I loved it too. Not too sweet… and yummy
YAY! So happy to hear it came out great and was a hit🙂
This was incredible! Loved the delightful mix of all the flavors.
YUM! Glad you are enjoying this recipe 🙂
This is a new family favorite! My mom made it for Christmas and it was such a hit that we made her promise to make it all the time!