These Christmas carrots with orange and maple are deliciously sweet but retain their crunch as a perfect accompaniment for Christmas dinner.
🍽 Why you will love this recipe
There's a lot of pressure to serve up a 'perfect' Christmas dinner each year, and what we all need are some simple but sensational side dishes that can be prepared ahead of time and need minimal time and effort on the big day.
These sweet and crunchy Christmas carrots with orange and maple are just that. They are full of flavour with a delicious crunch, and can be prepped and par-boiled a day ahead. On the day, you just need to bubble them in orange juice and maple syrup until they have a glossy glaze and are sweet and crunchy, then serve.
A perfect accompaniment to Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Maximum flavour, minimum fuss - just what you need!
📝 What you need
Carrots obviously! I like the little baby Chantenay carrots, they are short and fat and just the perfect bite-sized carrot. But the long and thin baby carrots are also excellent, or even the multicoloured 'heritage' carrots that are sometimes sold at this time of year.
If you can't get hold of baby carrots, just use ordinary carrots instead, (they will need peeling, then cutting into batons).
Orange juice I would go for a smooth rather than 'with bits' juice. Definitely look for a pure juice rather than a concentrate, or your carrots will be far too sweet.
Dairy-free margarine I always use a good block margarine for cooking (rather than a tub of spread). My favourites are the Flora Plant block 'butter' or Naturli block if you can find it. Both are delicious and really 'buttery'.
Maple syrup There is quite a difference between the cheap syrup that has a bit of maple and lots of other ingredients to bulk it out, and the really pure Canadian maple syrup. If your budget allows do go for the pure stuff, it is significantly better.
👩🏽🍳 How to make your Christmas Carrots
For a full, printable recipe with ingredients and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this page 👇🏼.
Trim and halve the baby carrots. Par-boil them for 5-6 minutes then drain.
Return the carrots to the pan and add the orange juice. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the margarine and maple syrup and bubble until the glaze is thick and syrupy. Season well with salt and black pepper, scatter with finely chopped parsley and serve.
There are lots of tweaks you can make to these tasty Christmas carrots, to mix them up each year! How about:
- Spice it up Add some festive spices for a special twist - how about star anise, cardamon or a tiny pinch of cinnamon?
- Make them nutty Finely chopped walnuts or hazelnuts scattered over the finished carrots make a deliciously crunchy addition.
- Carrots with Apple Simply swap the orange juice for apple juice - a lovely subtle match for the carrot flavour.
🔪 Top Tips & FAQs
Keep taste-testing until your carrots have just the right amount of crunch. This will depend both on your particular carrots and how 'al dente' you prefer them. The timings in the recipe are just a guide.
If the glaze isn't thickening quickly enough remove the carrots with a slotted spoon, bubble the glaze over a high heat until it is fairly thick and glossy, then return the carrots to the pan and toss to coat them fully in the glaze.
Yes certainly. Peel and trim them, then cut into batons or diagonal chunks if you're feeling cheffy. They may take longer or shorter to cook depending on how you cut them, so keep tasting and testing.
You can do a lot of the preparation these the day before. Trim and halve the carrots and par-boil them, then leave to cool and keep in an airtight container in the fridge. Then on the day itself you can just do the final steps with orange juice and maple syrup - just 5-10 minutes work.
You can certainly freeze leftovers and they will still taste great, but for a special occasion I would always cook them fresh.
No Christmas Dinner is complete without crispy roast potatoes, and of course the obligatory brussels sprouts (my sprouts with ginger and sesame are pretty epic!). If space on the cooker is running out, how about trying my Slow-Cooker Red Cabbage with apple and cranberry? And I've sometimes served up carrot and swede mash too which is wonderful with gravy and all the trimmings.
🍴 If you liked that...
.... you might also enjoy these vegan recipes from The Veg Space:
Christmas Carrots with Orange & Maple
- 500 g Chantenay / Baby Carrots
- 100 ml orange juice
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 25 g dairy-free margarine
- fresh parsley (optional)
- Clean, top and tail and halve the carrots, (or leave them whole if they are particularly small). Place them in a large, lidded saucepan and just cover with water, and a generous pinch of salt. Cover with a lid and cook for 5-6 minutes, then drain.
- Return the carrots to the pan, and add the orange juice. Bring to the boil, cover with the lid and boil for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the maple syrup and margarine to the pan and continue to bubble gently until the glaze has become syrupy and fully coated the carrots.
- Season with salt and black pepper, scatter with finely chopped parsley (optional) and serve.
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