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Rainbow Carrots Provide Different Nutrients With Each Color [Recipes]

Rainbow carrots reflect different nutrients that are essential for a healthy diet.  These rainbow-hued vegetables grow in Central Asia, the Mediterranean — all over the world.

People usually cook, stir-fry, or boil them — like yellow carrots in Central Asia, and purple carrots in Turkey.  But rainbow carrots are still somewhat of a novelty in the United States.

Food historians estimate that humans have been enjoying orange carrots since the 1500s.  However, the orange carrot appears to be passé in the carrot world.  Scientists working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other institutions have been exploring more colorful versions of the carrot.

For many years now, researchers have been changing the carrot’s color and nutrient content.  Each of these rainbow carrots provide different nutrients — depending on their hue.rainbow carrots nutrients

Rainbow Carrots Nutrients

  • Orange carrots are higher in beta-carotene, an antioxidant pigment also referred to as carotenoids.
  • Purple carrots have more of the carotenoid anthocyanin. Researchers are studying its ability to treat inflammation and obesity.
  • White carrots may lack color. But they certainly don’t lack they’re nutritional value. And the carrot’s fiber will ease your digestive system.
  • Yellow carrots contain beta-carotene and lutein — a carotenoid researchers think may protect the eyes.
  • Red carrots and all other colors provide biotin, fiber, potassium, vitamins B6, C, and K — and the trace element molybdenum.

Simple Rainbow Carrot Recipes

Carrots are one of the simplest vegetables to prepare.  They’re even easier to eat raw. And a medium-sized carrot stick is only 25 calories.

The taste difference between the varieties of rainbow carrots is subtle. However, you may experience a slight variation in taste that predominately shows up when they’re consumed raw.  Interestingly, it’s only in the last 50 years that people started eating raw carrots.


 

Here are a Few Simple Recipes for Rainbow Carrots

 

Roasted Rainbow Carrots

 Preparation:

Ready in 15 minutes

Ingredients:

3 bunches of baby rainbow carrots
½-teaspoon kosher salt
1-tablespoon olive oil
Chopped chives (optional)

Directions:

  • Toss 3 bunches of baby rainbow carrots, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1-tablespoon olive oil on a baking sheet.
  • Arrange the rainbow carrots in a single layer.
  • Roast the carrots a 450 degrees F, turning once, until tender and slightly browned — about 15 minutes.
  • (Optional) Sprinkle with salt and chopped chives.

Another Roasted Rainbow Carrot Recipe

Makes 4 servings

Preparation:

Ready in 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound of peeled rainbow carrots
1-tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 400°F
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Slice the carrots in half — lengthwise — and then toss them on the baking sheet with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until soft.

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Sage Brown Butter

 Preparation:

15 minutes active

Ready in 30 minutes

 Ingredients:

2 pounds small rainbow carrots
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾-teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, or 2 teaspoons dried sage — plus more for garnish

Directions:

  • Position racks in upper and lower third of oven; preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Trim carrots and cut them in half — lengthwise. In a large bowl, toss the rainbow carrots with oil and salt. Divide the carrots between 2 large rimmed baking sheets and spread them in an even layer.
  • Roast the carrots, stirring once. Switch the pans top to bottom halfway through, until tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until just starting to brown – about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the sage when the butter stops bubbling.
  • Transfer the roasted rainbow carrots to a serving dish and drizzle the sage brown butter over them. Garnish with fresh sage, if you like.

Rainbow carrots are just starting to become popular among small-scale farmers.  This means we will be seeing more of these multi-colored vegetables at our local farmer’s market.

Rainbow carrots hold a wealth of nutrients.  But whatever their color, all carrots are filled with fiber, minerals, and vitamins — essential for a healthy diet and good health.


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