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
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.