This maple glazed sautéed carrots recipe is a simple yet elegant addition to your holiday table. With its easy preparation and universal appeal, it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser among both adults and kids.
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If you love carrots, then I highly recommend trying my caramelized carrot pasta sauce recipe that everyone loves. It is versatile and so delicious. And if you want more vegetable side dishes, try my sheet pan fajita veggies for a flavor-packed dish for your fajitas.
❤️ Why you’ll love it
I love how the julienned carrots in this recipe cook quickly and retain their shape, unlike whole or halved carrots that take longer to cook.
These matchstick carrots are perfect for sautéed carrots, making them a quick and easy side dish that is also elegant enough for the holidays. The addition of maple syrup and thyme gives these carrots a sweet and savory flavor that is simply irresistible.
The optional topping of chopped walnuts or pecans adds a nice crunch and extra flavor to the dish. This recipe is a great way to impress guests with a simple yet sophisticated side dish.
🧾 Key ingredients
Young carrots are the star of this recipe. They are sweet, tender, and cook quickly, making them perfect for a quick and easy side dish.
Maple syrup is used to add a touch of sweetness that perfectly balances the earthiness of the carrots. It caramelizes beautifully, giving the carrots a lovely glaze. You can also use vegan honey or other honey substitutes.
Thyme is the herb of choice for this recipe. Freshly chopped, it adds a wonderful aroma and a hint of earthy flavor that pairs well with the sweetness of the carrots and maple syrup.
Optional topping of chopped walnuts or pecans adds a nice crunch and nutty flavor to the dish. It is a great way to add some extra texture and flavor, but the dish will still be delicious without it.
🛒 You can find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
For this sauteed carrots recipe, a heavy pan like a cast-iron skillet is the most important piece of equipment you will need. Its ability to maintain high and steady heat ensures the carrots get a nice golden brown color, enhancing their flavor and texture.
Preparing the ingredients
If you have young carrots, there is no need to peel them. Simply wash them, and they are ready for cutting. If the carrots are long, cut them in half to have approximately 4-inch long carrot stalks.
Cut the carrot stalks in quarters vertically to be about ¼-inch thick.
Making the sauteed carrots
Preheat the frying pan to high heat and add olive oil. Once the pan is hot enough, add the chopped carrots.
Add salt and pepper to the carrots and let them cook in a single layer. Do not stir them for 2-3 minutes to allow them to get a nice golden brown color on one side.
After 2-3 minutes, stir the carrots and try to flip each matchstick to another side. Continue cooking for another 5-6 minutes.
Add the maple syrup and thyme to the carrots. Continue sauteeing your carrots on high heat while the maple syrup is bubbling up. This should take another 5-6 minutes.
Serve the sauteed carrots from the pan or add chopped raw or toasted walnuts or pecans to enhance the flavor. Enjoy your delicious and healthy matchstick carrots.
💡 Expert tip
The use of young carrots in this recipe is not just a preference, it is a significant factor in achieving the desired sweetness. Young carrots are naturally sweeter than their mature counterparts, thus enhancing the overall flavor of the dish. And they are surprisingly even sweeter than baby carrots.
Add a touch of spice with cayenne pepper. If you enjoy a bit of heat in your dishes, consider adding a pinch of cayenne pepper to this matchstick carrots recipe. It will give the dish a spicy kick, contrasting nicely with the sweetness of the maple syrup.
Introduce a hint of citrus with lemon zest. For a refreshing twist, try adding some grated lemon zest to your sauteed carrots. The citrus notes will balance the sweetness of the carrots and maple syrup, providing a vibrant flavor profile.
Bring in some earthiness with rosemary instead of thyme. If you are a fan of rosemary, why not use it in place of thyme? It will provide a robust, earthy flavor that compliments the sweetness of the carrots and maple syrup.
🥣 Serving ideas
These sautéed carrots are a versatile side dish that can be paired with a variety of main courses. They are particularly delicious when served alongside a juicy vegan lentil loaf. The sweetness of the carrots complements the savory lentil loaf, creating a balanced and satisfying meal.
In addition, they also pair well with vegan mushroom meatballs. The earthy flavor of the mushrooms in the meatballs is a great match for the sweet and slightly caramelized carrots. This combination makes for a hearty and comforting meal that is sure to please everyone at your table.
If you are looking for a more festive main course to serve with these matchstick carrots, consider a vegan butternut squash wellington. The rich, savory flavors of the Wellington are beautifully offset by the sweet and simple sauteed carrots. This pairing is perfect for a special occasion or for Christmas dinner.
They also make a great side dish for a vegan shepherd’s pie or a vegan pot pie. The sweet and slightly crunchy carrots wonderfully complement the creamy, savory pies. This combination is a comforting and delicious option for a family dinner or a casual get-together.
❄️ Storing tips
Storing and reheating sauteed carrots is easy, and the flavor remains just as vibrant and delicious.
To store the sauteed carrots, allow them to cool completely. Once cooled, transfer them into an airtight container and place it in the fridge. The carrots will stay fresh and tasty for about 2-3 days.
If you have made a larger batch and want to save some for later, you can consider freezing them. Place the cooled carrots in a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze. They can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. Just remember to thaw them before you plan to serve them.
When it comes to reheating, the sauteed carrots can become sticky when cold. To reheat them, you can use a pan or a microwave. If using a pan, heat them over medium heat until they are warmed through. If using a microwave, heat them in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval to ensure even reheating.
For this recipe, I have tested it with honey and maple syrup. However, other liquid sweeteners like rice syrup, agave syrup, or date syrup should work perfectly. The key is to use a liquid sweetener to achieve that delicious caramel glaze on the carrots. You can find more honey substitutes here.
If you are using young carrots, there is no need to peel them. Simply wash them thoroughly, and they are ready to be cut and cooked.
If your carrots are long, cut them in half to have approximately 4-inch long stalks. This is just a reference and does not need to be exact.
To get a nice golden brown color on the carrots, let them cook in a single layer without stirring for 2-3 minutes. Then, try to flip each piece to another side when you eventually stir them.
Yes, you can add chopped raw or toasted walnuts or pecans to the dish. This is optional but it adds a nice crunch and flavor to the sauteed carrots.
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Sauteed Julienned Carrots in Maple Thyme Glaze
- ¼ cup Chopped walnuts or pecans
Cutting julienned carrots
- If you have young carrots, then you don’t need to peel them. Just wash them, and you are ready to start cutting.
- If they are long, cut them in half to have approx. 4-inch long (approx. 10 cm) carrot stalks. Don’t worry, it shouldn’t be exactly this long. It is just a reference.
- Then, cut them in quarters vertically ¼-inch thick (approx. 5 mm). That’s it. You are ready to sautee your julienned carrots.
- Pre-heat the frying pan to high heat and add olive oil.
- When the pan is hot enough, add the chopped carrots. You will hear the julienned carrots sizzle a bit. Add salt and pepper and let them cook in a single layer. Don’t stir until 2-3 minutes so that your carrots can get a nice golden brown color on one side, and try to flip every matchstick to another side when you eventually stir them.
- It will take 5-6 minutes before you can add the maple syrup and thyme.
- Continue sauteeing your carrots on high heat while the maple syrup is bubbling up. You are ready in another 5-6 minutes.
- Serve it from the pan or add chopped raw/toasted walnuts/pecans.
- You can choose to make whole, halved, diced, or sliced carrots, but we recommend julienned/matchstick carrots. They are large enough to sautee them without falling apart but not too large so you can get them ready quickly. This way, you don’t need to pre-cook them in boiling water.
- We recommend pre-cooking the carrots in boiling water if you saute larger or thicker carrots.
- We use young carrots as they are sweeter than large, thick regular carrots and surprisingly even sweeter than baby carrots.
- Arrange the carrots in a single layer to get them ready quicker.
- You can use a wok or a heavy pan like a cast-iron skillet as they will help to keep the pan steadily hot if you have to do a large batch.