Curry carrot fries dipped in creamy, delicious peanut sauce are addicting without the guilt. This vegan, healthy appetizer will be a new family favorite!
Carrot fries are an easy, creative way to get more carrots into your diet in a delicious way - especially with peanut sauce to dip them in. Tossing in curry powder adds a delectable flavor that pairs perfectly with the sauce and sweet, earthiness of the carrots. Since the recipe is vegan and gluten free, carrot fries are a great appetizer or snack for people with dietary restrictions.
Baked carrot fries are a go-to staple in our house. Although they're awesome enough on their own, dipping makes them super satisfying. Baking the carrots reduces their size making it easy to eat a ridiculous amount of carrot without even realizing that you're snacking on veggies. Raw carrots just don't have the same snack appeal.
How to make carrot fries
This recipe is so simple, you can't not try it out. The hardest part is chopping the carrots. After that, all you do is toss the carrots in oil and the seasonings, lay them out on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then stir and bake for another 10. Simple right?
The peanut sauce is equally easy. Throw all of the ingredients into a pan, cook down for about 5 minutes and serve with the carrots. It's that quick and easy. For this reason, I like making these carrot fries as an appetizer or side dish to go with Thai, Indian food, or whatever other recipe I can find that pairs well.
One thing to note, it may seem like a lot of carrots, but they cook down to about half their pre-cooked size. Here they are before baking:
And here they are 20 minutes later as roasted carrot fries:
How to make carrot fries crispy
Carrot fries aren't as crispy as potato fries since they aren't as starchy and have a different consistency. They soften and the ends get crispy but they retain a bit of crunch.
That being said, there are a few things you can do to help your carrots get as crispy as they can be.
- Cook at the recommended 450° F. The high heat helps the carrots get crisp.
- Use the recommended amount of oil and don't overdo it. You don't want the carrots to absorb it and become too soft.
- Cook for the full 20 minutes, check on them, and adjust cook time if needed.
- Cut the carrots into thin, fry-size strips.
Those tips all seem really basic but this is an incredibly simple recipe so that's all you really need to know!
Why dip in peanut sauce?
These curry roasted carrots don't need dipping sauce because they're perfectly tasty on their own, but pairing with peanut sauce creates just the right flavor combo to tantalize your tastebuds. I originally posted this recipe five years ago amidst a series of peanut flavored recipes (like my favorite African peanut soup) so it was my first dipping sauce idea. The second it hit my lips, I knew I'd chosen wisely.
The curry on the carrots pairs perfectly with the peanut sauce. And it isn't just any peanut sauce, but this peanut sauce recipe is divine. It's like nectar of the gods, and I don't use that term lightly.
And if making your own peanut sauce sounds intimidating, don't be scared. It's really way easier than it sounds. I started making my own about years ago and will never go back to store bought again... And neither will you after trying this recipe.
Its rich and creamy, only takes one pan, and can be done in about 7 minutes. To make the peanut sauce even more quickly, use ginger paste or even a bit of powdered ginger in a pinch, but fresh or paste is really so much better.
You really only need about half a recipe of peanut sauce to dip your roasted carrots in. You can either scale the recipe down, or do as I do and just have leftovers!
The calories listed per serving for this recipe assume that you eat all the peanut sauce with the carrots too, but I've found that it normally makes enough for two batches of carrots (6 lbs. total), which brings the calories per serving down significantly. So you can have leftover peanut sauce, or if you have more people to feed (or super hungry people), you can always make a double batch of carrots to go with the extra sauce.
To use leftover sauce in something else later on, just reheat stovetop for a minute or two, adding a small amount of water to thin it out.
This peanut sauce is dangerously easy. You can certainly make curry baked carrot fries all on their own without it though - the choice is yours.
What are the health benefits?
Everyone knows that carrots are healthy but do you know how good for you?
Carrots are loaded with vitamin A though, which makes them a much healthier alternative to plain ol' french fries. One serving of this recipe has over 700% of your recommended daily vitamin A intake (700%!), making them the super star of the veggie garden in that respect.
Vitamin A is important for healthy eyes and skin. That being said, you don't want to overdose on Vitamin A regularly so make sure not to eat carrots every day, or if you do, don't eat a whole half pound like you will in this recipe.
While peanuts are kind of known to be the junk food of nuts, they're still high in both protein and mono saturated fat. Without the dipping sauce, the carrots wouldn't have the protein needed to make this a sustaining snack that will stave off hunger. All that peanut sauce adds 6 grams of protein per serving.
In addition to that, curry powder has health benefits as well. It is known to fight inflammation and research suggests the curry may be beneficial in preventing and treating cancer. The small amount used in this recipe probably isn't going to be a life saver, but our diets are made up of every little bit we eat so adding curry powder and other healthy spices certainly helps.
Other similar recipes and pairing options
This recipe works on so many levels - first, it's got peanut sauce so that makes anything delicious. If you're looking for another peanut sauce recipe, these soba noodle edamame bowls are to die for.
But, second, it can be hard to find healthy appetizer ideas that actually taste good and aren't completely played out. If you're looking for some other healthy appetizer options, check these out:
- Always a classic, zucchini pizza bites, get a thumbs up every time.
- Sweet potato patties with lemon tahini dipping sauce are a unique appetizer that make use of any leftover cooked sweet potato and brown rice you have on hand.
- This rich baked feta is covered in roasted peppers, tomatoes, olives and onions and then a sprinkle of fresh herbs - always a crowd favorite!
- These avocado fries with chipotle dipping sauce from Gimme Delicious are baked in an oven - no air fryer needed!
- Or if you want to serve alongside something else you can dip in that creamy, delicious peanut sauce, try this Thai salad roll recipe from Just a Taste.
If you want to serve baked carrot fries as an appetizer, you might be wondering what in the world you can pair them with. Well, I've got a few suggestions for you:
- This vegan red lentil curry would be complemented by the rich peanut sauce and curry covered carrots.
- Curry noodle soup is the perfect main dish to pair an appetizer like this with.
- The peanut sauce alone make this the perfect lead into a delicious Thai stir fry like this chicken one with basil and mint from The Woks of Life.
Whether you eat it with one of these recipes, your own creation, or just on it's own, this is a recipe you won't want to pass up!
Curry Roasted Carrots with Peanut Sauce
- Preheat oven to 450°F (232°C).
- Rub carrots with olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with salt and curry powder and rub spices onto carrots using your hands. Spread carrots out in a single layer on two baking sheets.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then stir/flip carrots and bake another 10 minutes or until fully cooked and starting to brown, but remove before burning.
- While carrots are roasting, make peanut sauce in a small sauce pan. Combine all peanut sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat and bring to a low simmer.
- Simmer while whisking or stirring continuously for about 5 minutes. Add additional water if needed to reach desired consistency and remove from heat.
- Serve peanut sauce warm with carrots right away.
Recipe originally posted October 26, 2014 but pictures and post have since been revised.