Though I try to cook in a healthy manner most of the time, I’ve never been the kind of person who loved the taste of plain vegetables. There are a few notable exceptions, of course. When I was little, my grandmother would sometimes give me a sliced up cucumber sprinkled with a little bit of salt, and to this day, it is one of my favorite snacks (I will also happily eat a bowl of plain spinach for dinner. Yes. We’ve established my quirky eating habits already, have we not?). But overall, I need some sort of additional flavor added to my vegetables, unlike Adam, who enjoys having a giant pile of steamed veggies with his dinner every evening.
As a result, I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out how to play around with spices over the years to, well, spice up my vegetables, which is how I came up with these carrot fries. I think I can pinpoint my love of these fries to the following three reasons:
My brain thinks they are junk food
My butt thinks they are health food
My mouth thinks they’re delicious
I would go so far as to say that these carrot fries are just as delicious as any sweet potato fry, PLUS if you’re looking for an option that’s a little lighter, these have about half the carbs, and they’re baked rather than fried. Which I guess means that they’re not really carrot fries after all, are they? They’re… carrot bakes?
Anyway, these carrot… things get incredibly sweet as they bake in the oven, and are packed with flavor from the spice blend sprinkled on top. They’re the best way I can think of to eat half of a bunch of carrots in one sitting.
Now, not to brag, but my most recent batch also happened to be gorgeous. I used rainbow carrots (because they were the first ones I could find at the very crowded grocery store) and the combination of colors may not have added anything to the taste, but it made my plate really pretty. My not-fried fries could have won a vegetable beauty contest… if that was the kind of thing that existed.
Sweet and Spicy Oven-Baked Carrot Fries
- 1 large bunch of carrots, washed and peeled
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
Preheat your oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with tin foil.
Combine cumin, paprika, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
Cut your carrots into vaguely french fry-shaped sticks. This is easier said than done, and I apologize for that, but unfortunately carrots don’t come pre-french-fried. Sorry. Deal with it.
Place your newly fry-shaped carrots on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Spread the carrots out in a single layer on the sheet and sprinkle with the spice blend.
Pop the tray in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Give the fries a shake at this point, or, if you’re far more patient than I am, flip them all, then put them back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, checking occasionally, as these little guys have a habit of burning the second you stop paying attention.
Serve with other grown-up, healthified junk food.