These colourful roasted carrots with harissa make a simple and bold side dish that’s delicious enough to be enjoyed as a main. Colorful heirloom carrots are tossed with olive oil, cumin seeds, harissa spice mix, garlic and pure maple syrup, then roasted to perfection. Paired with butter beans and a lemon-herb yoghurt sauce, this is a delicious way to enjoy carrots. The combination of sweet, spicy, and savoury flavours come beautifully together in this easy carrot side dish!
What is harissa?
Harissa is a spice mix that comes from North Africa and is most commonly found as a paste. However, it is also available as a dry spice mix, which is what I use for this particular recipe. Depending on the brand, harissa can contain a variety of spices and vary in spice level (from mild to spicy). The harissa spice mix I use is made with chilli, red sweet paprika, Kalahari desert salt, cumin, coriander seeds, garlic, and Piment d’Espelette. It has a nice kick to it which pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the maple syrup and natural sweetness of the carrots.
Choosing the right carrots
I like to use fresh from the market heirloom carrots for this recipe, only because I love the variety of colours. I find that carrots on the bunch are the best choice as they usually have long slender carrots, which you can leave whole, plus they have a light, sweet flavor.
How to prepare roasted carrots with harissa
- To prepare the carrots, simply trim the green parts, rinse them under cold water, and then gently scrub them to remove any dirt or debris. If buying organic grown carrots, they can be eaten unpeeled. You can also peel the skin if you prefer.
- The spices, garlic, olive oil and maple syrup are then mixed together to form a paste and then tossed with carrots. Depending on the size of your carrots you can do this in a large bowl, in a large roasting pan, or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Once the carrots are well coated, they should be spread in a single layer and roasted for 30 minutes, or until tender. To check if they are ready, simply pierce a carrot with tip of a knife. If it goes in easily, they’re done cooking. If not, let them roast for a few more minutes and check again.
- Since the carrots take half an hour to roast, this gives you plenty of time to prepare the rest of the recipe or any other accompaniments. However, the bean salad and the yoghurt sauce can easily be prepared ahead of time, so you can also use this time to prepare any other sides, such as potatoes, a green salad or try pairing this dish with a non-vegetarian option such as grilled chicken.
For more middle eastern vegetarian inspiration, check out these recipes:
- Beluga Lentil Salad with Middle Eastern Lemon Dressing
- Morroccan-Style Millet Salad with Chickpeas & Carrots
- Moroccan-Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes with Herb-Yogurt-Sauce
- Roasted Cauliflower Pasta Salad with Chickpeas
Roasted Carrots with Harissa, Butter Beans and Yoghurt Sauce
For the roasted carrots:
- 1 bunch carrots with greens, trimmed and halved lengthwise if large (750 g)
- 2 tablespoons harissa spice mix
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the butter bean salad:
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 x 400g can butter bean (or cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the yoghurt sauce:
- 170 g Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, mix together the harissa, olive oil, cumin, garlic, maple syrup and sea salt. Toss with the carrots until well coated and spread in an even layer on the baking sheet (see tips below).
Roast for 30–35 minutes, turning halfway, until tender.
Meanwhile, prepare the beans and the yoghurt sauce. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter bean salad ingredients (olive oil, red onion, garlic, beans, lemon juice, and herbs) Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt with the olive oil, lemon juice and parsley. Set aside.
To serve, transfer the bean salad to a serving platter. Arrange the roasted carrots with harissa over the beans and spoon a little yogurt over top. Garnish with additional herbs, if desired, and serve with the remaining yoghurt on the side.
- Harissa is a great flavor booster to whatever dish it’s added to. You can find it well stocked grocery stores or online.
- The carrots can either be roasted on a baking sheet which gives them a caramelised flavor, or in a roasting pan/casserole dish. If the carrots are roasted closer together they will steam rather than caramelise, but this also prevents bits of the harrisa mixture from over-browning. Both methods work well.
- Inspired and lightly adapted from Diane Henry's book "Simple".
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