So easy & delicious! These steamed carrots with feta cheese & toasted pine nuts make a healthy, tasty side dish for the holidays, or a busy weeknight dinner.
Today, I give you simple.
If you’re anything like me, once you find something that works, like a fun new hairstyle, a heart pounding workout that leaves you feeling great, or a veggie that BOTH of your kids will eat, you jump on it, and never let it go!
For my kids, carrots are that veggie, and, I recently discovered that when topped with a smidge of delicious Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter, I can’t keep enough steamed carrots on the dinner table.
So, needless to say, I’ve jumped on the carrot bandwagon pretty hard as of late, and buttered steamed carrots have been making a major appearance at our dinner table.
And, while I can’t say I’ve given up on the sublime simplicity of buttery steamed carrots, which are fabulous in their own right, I figure why not take things up a notch with some feta cheese and toasted pine nuts???
Because, let’s face it…
Pretty much everything tastes better with feta and pine nuts.
If you disagree with me, we can still be friends 🙂
Are steamed carrots healthy?
You betcha! Compared to boiled carrots, steamed carrots are higher in nutrients, including vitamins A, K, & especially vitamin C. And, while raw carrots are healthy too, steaming or cooking carrots helps make the carotenoids (see below) more readily available to your body.
Other nutritional benefits of raw & steamed carrots…
- Carotenoids! Beta carotene, and other carotenoids in carrots help protect your cells from free radicals, boost your immune system, keep your heart healthy, potentially help ward off certain types of cancers, and, help keep your eyes healthy.
- Polyacetylenes. Or, a fancy word for another phytonutrient found in carrots that may help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells.
- Potassium. Carrots are a good source of potassium-a key nutrient for healthy blood pressure, and one many of us fall short on.
- Interested in learning more about carrot health benefits and nutrition? Check out The World’s Healthiest Foods.
Tips for cooking steamed carrots…
- Stovetop Method w/ Steamer Insert: Fill a pot with ~ 1 inch of water & bring to a boil. Carefully place carrots in a steamer insert or basket that fits into the pot. Cover with a lid, and steam until tender to the bite- about 5 minutes for crisp tender, or up to 10 minutes for softer carrots. Note: Sliced carrots will cook faster than baby carrots.
- Stovetop Method w/ Saucepan: Bring ~ 1/2 inch of water to a boil in a shallow pan. Add carrots, cover with a lid, and steam for 5-10 minutes depending on how tender you want your carrots. Tip! Water for water evaporation and add more if needed.
- Microwave Method: I steam my carrots in the microwave with a Lekue steam case, but you can use any microwave safe dish. Place carrots in container and add 1 tablespoon of water. Cover with a microwave safe lid or dish and cook on high for 3 minutes. Test for tenderness, then cook in 60 second intervals until desired consistency is achieved.
I’m a little hesitant to call this a recipe, because it is SO easy, but, I think I nailed the perfect proportions of sweet steamed carrots, salty feta, and crunchy pine nuts, so here you go…
Easy Steamed Carrots with Feta & Pine Nuts
- 3 cups sliced carrots or baby carrots
- 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and place pine nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for approximately 2 minutes, or until light golden brown. Be careful not to let the pine nuts burn.
- While the pine nuts are toasting, peel and slice the carrots into ~1/4 inch rounds.
- Steam the carrots in a steamer pan on your stovetop OR in the microwave until tender crisp, or desired consistency is achieved. Note: Stovetop method takes ~5-10 minutes and microwave method takes ~3-5 minutes.
- Mix crumbled feta cheese and pine nuts into carrots, and serve while still warm.
- Depending on my mood, I either steam carrots over the stovetop with my steamer insert, or I stem them in the microwave with my Lekue steam case.
- I usually make these with sliced carrots, but to keep things super simple, use baby carrots instead.
- Want to save even more time? Top with raw pine nuts instead of toasting them.
- No need to add butter, but you can add some if you like. A smidge of nut oil or virgin coconut oil would be tasty too.
- For extra flavor, top with fresh herbs. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible (one of my go-to books for creating recipes) suggest pairing carrots with basil, chives, cilantro, dill, mint, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, and thyme. So many delicious options!
Need more easy recipe ideas? Check out all my Healthy Quick and Easy Recipes on The Spicy RD
For more side dish ideas follow my Pinterest Board: Recipes: Healthy Side Dishes
What are your favorite recipes that encourage your kids to eat more vegetables? What’s your favorite super simple veggie side dish? Any other easy ideas for sprucing up carrots???
Hi There! I’m EA, a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) in sunny San Diego. I create easy, DELICIOUS gluten free recipes & low FODMAP recipes for a wide variety of diets: anti-inflammatory, low carb, Mediterranean, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, & more. I offer nutrition coaching for wellness nutrition, digestive health (celiac disease, IBS, IBD, SIBO), autoimmune disease, & healthy aging. Learn more about my nutrition philosophy and my nutrition coaching services, sign up for my newsletter, or get in touch~I’d love to connect with you!