These easy steamed carrots are topped with butter and a cilantro lime gremolata creating a unique, flavorful side dish that's perfect for any occasion. They are the ideal accompaniment to your next weeknight dinner for two.
Carrots are such a wonderful option when you want a quick yet tasty side dish. The key is to make them interesting.
Getting enough veggies seems to be a challenge for many people, myself included. I've found that getting creative with veggies is the best way to incorporate more of them into your diet. This is one of my favorite side dishes because the flavors are great and it's really quick and easy to make. The extra flavor boost from the lime gremolata is what is takes this side dish to the next level.
Before we get into the details of how to make this recipe, let's talk about gremolata.
What is Gremolata?
Gremolata is traditionally an Italian condiment that is classically made from parsley, lemon zest and garlic. It's a great way to bring a lot of flavor to a dish. While parsley is the traditional herb, you can use just about any combination of herbs, citrus zest and garlic, maybe sometimes adding a little parmesan cheese, to achieve the same effect.
How to make steamed carrots + gremolata
Steam the carrots: This is the primary cooking method for these carrots. I always use a steamer basket to keep the carrots out of the water.
Make the gremolata: While the carrots are cooking, you combine the cilantro, lime zest, ginger and garlic to form the gremolata.
Finish with sauce: Some melted butter combined with the gremolata, a bit of lime juice, some salt and the carrots create the finished dish.
- Carrots: Real baby or young carrots are not the type you find in the bag. These are typically sold with the greens attached and harvested before they are full-grown, giving you smaller, more tender carrots. In a pinch, you could substitute bagged cut baby carrots.
- Lime juice and zest: One lime is all you'll need for this recipe. Be sure to zest the lime before you juice it.
- Butter: Since you'll add salt later, I recommend using unsalted butter in this recipe.
- Fresh cilantro: Fresh cilantro is one of the key ingredients in this recipe. Cilantro keeps for a few days in the refrigerator, however, I'd recommend buying it within 4 days of when you plan to make the recipe.
- Pantry staples: fresh garlic, ground ginger, sea salt
What to serve with steamed carrots
Steamed carrots go well with just about any type of meat. My recommendations for a complete meal would be to pair them with Turkey Meatloaf Muffins, Sticky Asian Grilled Chicken or Grilled Apricot Glazed Pork Tenderloin.
More unique side dishes
If you are looking for some other great ideas for side dishes check out this Miso Glazed Roasted Cauliflower or these Smashed Potatoes with Pancetta & Sage Sauce.
Steamed Carrots with Lime Gremolata
- 8 ounces of baby carrots, peeled
- zest from half of one lime
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- dash ground ginger
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- Steam the carrots. Insert steamer basked into a medium pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add 2-3 inches of water. Put the carrots in the steamer basket, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and steam for 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
- Make the gremolata. While the carrots are cooking, add the lime zest, garlic, ginger and cilantro in a small bowl. Mix until combined.
- Finish the dish. Just before carrots are done, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and swirl in the butter. Add lime juice and salt; cook for 1 minute. Add the gremolata, stir to coat. Remove from pan and serve immediately.
This post was originally published in January 2015. It was updated in February 2021 with some new information. No changes were made to the original recipe.
Michelle Barsness says
This gremolata sounds fantastic. Perfect way to pump up the naturally sweet flavor of carrots. Very healthy dish! Love it.
Ben Myhre says
I had never heard the term gremolata before, but those flavors sound all like awesome flavors. I will definitely be adding this term to my vocabulary and making some gremolata of my own. These carrots do look really good.
One of the ways we creatively add veggies to our diet is by joining a CSA. I look at it as a challenge to use up all of the veggies we have even though sometimes my favorite might not be in there. Kale, for example. Kale is not my favorite, but it inevitably comes at some point and I work to use it. If you find the right CSA, they can give you all sorts of interesting goodies.
Anne Lawton says
I had heard of gremolata but didn't know what it was. I bet it's delicious with the carrots. this would be a perfect side dish for Easter.
I've never made gremolata before. It's sound really tasty and I'm clearly going to have to add it to my repertoire of recipes! It looks especially yummy on the sweet and bright spiring carrots!
Eileen Kelly says
I absolutely love gremolata. I make it frequently in the summer with herbs from the garden. Such a great topping for carrots. I love that you steamed the carrots, keeps so much of the vitamins in the veggie. I haven't added Parmesan to gremolata. I have some carrots that I picked up at the farmers market today. I am going to make this as my lunch tomorrow!
I have never heard of gremolata but it sounds so delicious. Carrots are my family's favorite side dish so I will absolutely be throwing this into our dinner rotation! I pinned it for later and can't wait to try it =)
Yum, this looks delicious! I love fresh seasonal veggies with a herb sauce topping and I know this gremolata would be delicious on other vegetables like zucchini and eggplant. Thanks for the idea!
OK, these carrots are literally the most gorgeous ever!! And the idea of a lime gremolata is making me drool! These would be so perfect for Easter!
Cleo @ Journey to the Garden says
These carrots look so beautiful, perfect for everyday or entertaining. And I've always wanted to try gremolata so now is the time. Great recipe!
Thank Cleo! Gremolata is a great way to add flavor and super easy to make!
Gremolata is one of my all time favs...I love it with kale as well. These carrots are happening soon, they're gorgeous!
Thanks Stacey! I'm going to have to try it with kale - that sounds like a great idea!!
I love the little carrots with tops still on - they always look so picture perfect, but I can never find them! Please stop doing the "hard work" for me and removing the tops, CSA farmers! This makes me so excited for my summer herb garden.
Prerna Mehta says
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