Spring Entertaining: Carrots Carolina

Side dishes are arguably not as seductive as a beautiful dessert, nor do they command the same attention as a roasted chicken coming out of the oven, but the are an important part of the fabric of meal and when done right the measure of a good cook. Fresh vegetables make some of the best sides and these sweet Southern styled carrots are easy, delicious, and sure to impress your guests.

Cooking is wonderful because in a way it can take you back in time and can bring back memories of family. This recipe is something I got from my grandmother’s recipe drawer. It was originally a 1950’s style dish that belonged to my dad’s mom. I am not one for the canned carrots the original recipe called for, but the orange juice and brown sugar based syrup sounded like a wonderful idea. So years ago I took to modernizing my grandmothers dish. It’s a quick side that takes five minutes to cook and you can have everything prepped ahead so it’s great for dinner parties and holidays. I used it as an Easter side dish in our house last year and my family loved it. The bright orange carrots and the green chives make a pretty plate that  can tempt even my tiny vegetable skeptics.

Carrots Carolina (Serves 4 to 6)

  • 6 carrots, peeled and julienned into thin four-inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped chives
  • 1 orange to make orange peel curls (optional garnish)

First, get you carrots peeled then cut off the top and the very thin end piece. Then make a horizontal cut to cut the carrot into two approximately four-inch lengths. Then slice each half vertically and then cut each side in half or in thirds depending on how thick your carrot is to make thin baton like strips. You want the carrots to be fairly even in size so they cook evenly.

Stir your carrots as you sauté them so they cook evenly and the citrus syrup comes together.

Then place a medium sized skillet on medium high heat and add your butter, orange juice,  brown sugar, orange zest and salt. Then add in your carrots and sauté them for about five minutes until they become tender and the orange juice and brown sugar make a thick syrup. Then sprinkle on your chives and if you are feeling especially fancy some orange curls. The orange curls are easy to make you just need to use a channel knife, which will cut thin even strips you can curl up into a spiral.

This serving dish also belonged to my grandmother so it was fun to be able to photograph the dish she inspired in her serving bowl.

A sprinkle of bright green chives, a few curls of orange peel and a drizzle of sweet citrus syrup make these carrots more than just your ordinary vegetable dish. These carrots can hold their own when set on the table. If you are entertaining with this recipe then I would cut the carrots in advance and have all of the ingredients for the syrup ready to go in the skillet. Then all you have to do is add in your carrots and sauté them quickly before you serve them. So if you are looking for a good spring inspired side, then give these carrots a try.

Carrots Carolina is the second part of my series on spring entertaining so join me next week for more recipes and menu ideas to host your own delicious dinner party.


  1. I love that you are modernizing one of your grandmother’s recipes – how special! I have many of my great grandmother’s recipes and enjoy choosing one to experiment with every now and then (her Okra Gumbo is my favorite so far). A food blogger that I follow purchased a stack of vintage recipes from an antique store and blogged about each one as she cooked her way through them. As fate would have it, she was eventually able to connect with the woman whom the recipes belonged to in the 1930s. You may enjoy reading about The Clara Project as much as I did – https://writes4food.com/2013/08/vintage-recipe-project-meeting-clara-jan/

  2. I couldn’t help but notice how your later post about pairing orange with blue and white is so appropriate when many of the visuals with these carrots are photographed against blue backgrounds…nice touch!

    1. Well what can I say, we happen to love the color blue in our house. I have also found it photographs well with food so it definitely my go to favorite when I am setting up my food photography shots. Happy Easter!

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