You cook a stew, you need carrots, making a mixed vegetable soup? – would definitely need some carrots! Perhaps, carrot is an essential part of Mirepoix – the aromatic base of every other curry or gravy. It is that one vegetable we all never get enough of. From the Mediterranean to Asian cuisines, carrots are used in every single one of them.
Carrots are seasonal vegetables with fall being their peak season. Only during that time of the year, you can get to have fresh, juicy, quality carrots straight from the farms. Rest of the months, you need to rely on the market bought packaged carrots, frozen carrots, orange baby carrots or any of its substitutes.
Sometimes, you don’t get to find any carrots at all, and if you haven’t have saved them for the rainy days, then replacing the carrots in a recipe with other substitutes is the only option available for you.
There are many vegetables that can mimic the taste and texture of the carrots, such as parsnip, squash, baby carrots, beets, cucumber turnip, daikon radish, and celery. Let’s find out how well they all can replace carrots in different recipes.
Munching on Carrots
Carrots are my favorite snacks – instead of relying on fried, unhealthy fries and chips, I munch on carrots in between the meals, and that keeps me super active and healthy. They do not cause any weight gain, rather aid in speeding up the metabolism and provide me much needed nutrients.
Carrots are light and refreshing to the core; you can eat them raw or add to the salad or enjoy in the soups, stews or stir-fries; they taste equally good in all. Their mildly sweet and juicy flavor also makes them perfect for some desserts.
Amazing Benefits of Eating Carrots
I guess none of us can deny that carrots are super healthy. It is a root vegetable that is packed with fibres, minerals and vitamins. Most vegetables share the same traits, but what makes the carrots special is that they are packed with beta-carotene, the element that can help our body produce vitamin A which is great for lowering our blood cholesterol levels and for improving our eyesight. There are some other health benefits of eating carrots as well:
- The juicy red carrots have lycopene, which can prevent risks of cardiac diseases.
- Carrots also help boost our immune system. The vitamin C present in carrots helps our body produce antibodies that then strengthen our immune system.
- Vitamin C in carrots also helps our body utilize iron and protect from any infection.
- Carrots, due to their rich fibres content, can help with constipation. Munching on raw carrots greatly improves digestion.
- Carrot is a non-starchy vegetable that means no extra carbs; that is why people suffering from diabetes or those who are living on any low-carb diet are often suggested to add carrots to their routine diet.
- The high fibres content in carrots can keep the blood sugar levels of a diabetic patient under control. And since they are packed with vitamin A and beta-carotene, they can also lower the risk of developing diabetes.
- Another added advantage of carrots is that they can strengthen our bones. Carrots have vitamin K and calcium, which are essential for bone health.
10 Best Substitutes for Carrots
No matter how awesome the carrots are, you still get to replace them in a recipe when you can’t find them in your kitchen pantry. But that’s okay! Following carrots substitutes can definitely save the day!
1. Baby Carrots
Baby carrots are the most obvious substitutes for red carrots. Because of their small size, different color and prematurity, people often avoid using these carrots in cooking. Sure, they do have a slightly different taste from regular carrots, but there is no harm in using them as a replacement because they can give your recipe the needed carrot-like texture and aroma.
You can dice, shred and use them as a whole to incorporate in different recipes. You can use them to substitute carrots in applesauce for carrot cakes as well.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Whether you want to substitute sweet potatoes with carrots or use sweet potatoes to replace carrots in a recipe, both make a perfect substitute for one another. Like carrots, sweet potatoes also have a mildly sweet taste, so you can add them to stews, soups and stir-fries to get a similar carrot-like flavor and a chunky texture.
However, sweet potatoes contain more starch and carbs than carrots, so do not use them if you are diabetic or living on a ketogenic diet.
Turnip is an excellent substitute for carrots in stews, soups, and salads. We are all familiar with the flavour and texture of this extensively utilized tuber. It has the same juicy carrot feel and doesn’t take long to prepare.
Turnips are a carrot replacement that can be found in almost any grocery store. They have a spicy mustard-like flavour that builds over time, but it mellows out as they simmer.
How to substitute?
Use an equivalent amount of turnip, peel it, and cut it into slices or cubes if you want to replace carrots in a recipe. In place of carrots, add them to a recipe and simmer until soft and tender. To minimize their strong aroma and taste in your dinner, you can use pre-boiled turnips to substitute carrots.
Squash is an excellent carrot substitute if you are looking for that sweet, fresh taste of carrots. Butternut squash, like carrots, is frequently used in savoury and sweet recipes. Many individuals believe butternut squash to be a delicious and nutritious ingredient that you should include in your low-carb diet.
Raw squash has a yellow-orange flesh that looks a lot like carrots. They have a creamy, buttery texture when cooked, with a flavor that is nutty, moist, with noticeable sweet undertones comparable to sweet potatoes or butterscotch.
How to Use?
Squash is a nutritious vegetable that may take the place of grated carrots on a low-calorie diet. It is not only delightful to eat, but it is also packed with vitamins, fibres, antioxidants, and minerals. Butternut squash is quite a versatile cooking ingredient that can be used in stews and soups. Simply peel the skin and chop it into little cubes or slices before adding to a recipe.
Because parsnip is a vegetable that resembles carrots, it is frequently mistaken for white carrots. It is understandable, given that resemblance, parsnips can make an excellent carrot substitute.
Parsnips share a crunchy and strong texture, in addition to their comparable shape with carrots. Their flavour, on the other hand, is a little different. Parsnips, unlike carrots, are sweeter and have a nutty, earthy flavour.
How to substitute carrots with parsnips?
Some people compare them to sweet potatoes in terms of sweetness. They are also high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and a variety of antioxidants, comparable to carrots. When replacing parsnips for carrots, use the same proportions. However, they take less time to cook than carrots so if you will cook them for too long, they get incredibly soft. You can add them to your soups or stews when they are almost done cooked that will keep their sweet flavour and maintain their crunchiness.
Beet is another excellent carrot substitute. Although beets are not root vegetables like carrots, but they can readily be substituted for them. Beets come in a variety of colours, ranging from orange to a dark purple tone.
Beets, unlike carrots, have a circular shape instead of being long and skinny. Beets have a sweet, slightly bitter taste with earthy overtones, similar to carrots when cooked properly. They are also high in fibres, folate, vitamin C, and minerals, making them a good choice for a low-calorie diet.
How To use:
Beets are commonly used in boiled, steamed, and roasted dishes due to their rich flavor. They also make excellent carrot alternatives in salads, smoothies, and soups.
Cucumbers are one of the widely used vegetables in the world, and they have numerous health benefits. They can be used as a carrot substitute as well. Cucumbers are a great component to have on hand if you are looking for something to add to a healthy salad. This green vegetable has a brighter colour inside and dark greener skin.
It is quite juicy, with a leafy, somewhat sweet flavour that can be eaten uncooked. Cucumbers are crispy and crunchy when eaten, much like carrots. Cucumbers can be used to replace carrots in salads and soups. Its juiciness can also be used in healthful smoothies.
Zucchini is a fantastic substitute for carrots in carrot cake. Because of its nutritional value, it is a favourite vegetable in many vegan recipes. Zucchini has a texture comparable to cucumbers and carrots. When you bite into it, you notice a crunchy and firm texture along with a juicy, fresh, and moderately sweet flavour. They are also high in vitamin A, have a lot of water, and are low in calories.
Zucchini is commonly used in carrot juice and smoothies, baking, and salads. You can use one large zucchini for three medium-sized carrots when substituting for carrots.
9. Daikon Radish
Although Daikon is not a common vegetable in western countries, its texture and mild flavour make it a good carrot alternative in many Asian countries. Daikon’s are slender-shaped vegetables that resemble carrots on the outside. When Daikon is raw, it has a flavour that is fresh, acidic, and faintly peppery. It has a crunchy, moderately juicy texture. It’s as sweet as carrots when cooked, with a soft, sensitive texture.
Daikon can be utilized in a variety of carrot-based recipes, including baked, steamed, and boiled meals, due to its delicious flavour.
Because of its texture and nutritional value, celery root is a superb carrot substitute. Celery has a crisp, crunchy feel and a white spherical bulb. It can add a distinct earthy and fresh flavour to soups and stews recipes. This carrot-like vegetable is commonly used raw in salads or cooked in carrot soup, stews, and side dishes.
Table: Substitutes for Carrots (Nutri Table)