Lightly charred grilled carrots topped with tangy basil vinaigrette and crunchy almonds are a great way to up your summer side dish game.
Summer is basically made for grilled vegetables. We pretty much live off a rotation of grilled asparagus, zucchini and summer squash marinated in balsamic vinaigrette, and grilled corn on the cob.
I started dreaming about what other, less popular vegetables, could be grilled and landed on carrots. Roast carrots are amazing, so why not grill them? It turns out they take on that same smoky sweet flavor and get perfectly tender. You can leave it at that, but I took it a step further and drizzled these grilled carrots with a zippy fresh basil vinaigrette to give it the feel of a more composed side dish.
I’ll be honest and confess that we ate these on the side of burgers, but they’d also be great with a grilled steak or my favorite Moroccan Spiced Lamb. You could also serve them over a bed of couscous or quinoa for an easy vegetarian meal (give them a nice sprinkle of feta for even more flavor).
How to grill carrots
Grilling carrots is really easy, so I’m surprised they aren’t more popular.
Start by scrubbing a small bunch of carrots – there’s no need to peel them. (Don’t worry about getting fancy and using multi-colored carrots like I did; the orange ones tasted the best anyway. Promise.)
Light your grill to low heat and lay the carrots on the grates crosswise so they don’t fall through. Grill them for 20 to 25 minutes, turning them 2 or 3 times as they cook so each side gets charred. The carrots are done when they’re fork-tender.
The basil vinaigrette recipe below is a great way to use up basil from your herb garden, and it has a really nice bright flavor. If you don’t have access to fresh basil, you can use this pesto vinaigrette instead.