Ginger-Glazed Grilled Carrot and Pea Shoot Salad

I love roasting carrots, in just a coat of olive oil and pinch of sea salt. But now that it’s reached almost ninety degrees in New York City, cranking up the oven to 400 degrees seems less than appropriate. On the contrary, goading your friend with a rooftop patio to throw an impromptu barbecue absolutely does. So after a day spent lazing on Brighton Beach, on the first truly hot day of spring, last Saturday, I found myself successfully planted on said rooftop (Karol’s) before a charcoal grill just like the way everything was supposed to be. Or maybe not everything. Because I’d had some carrots at home, I thought I’d bring them along to throw on the grill. Thing is, I’ve never grilled carrots before. And as I looked around at my friends, no one else had, either. (Once again, I defer to the almighty mantra of “Why not?” in situations with food like this.) Turned out, it ain’t no thing at all.

Grilled carrots are great — charred and just softened around the edges, still a bit crunchy in the center. And coated in a brown sugary, ginger and garlic marinade, they were sweet and just zesty enough to set the mood for summertime, in the spring. I’ll admit the shape can prove problematic especially if your grill has spacious slats in between the bars. Some of these morsels fell victim to the ashen charcoal in the end. But it was well worth the casualty count in my opinion.

Thumbelina carrots in their just un-earthed state

and tossed on the grill, after a quick marinade

Bettering the situation was the good fortune of getting some radish-shaped Thumbelina carrots on my recent trip to Garden of Eve farm. The moment I saw them I fawned over them to Melissa like a kid would a puppy in a storefront window. I can’t think of a more apt name for these carrots than “Thumbelina”: they’re cute, they remind me of simple, storybook pleasures, and they’re ridiculously sweet. Once I peeled off their thin layer of dirt-clogged skin and stray wisps of reaching roots, these carrots were oh so orange underneath, and their sweetness I could distinctly smell.

If you don’t have Thumbelina carrots (via a fairy-like friend on an organic farm, free, no less), you can still roast carrots on your grill this spring and summer. Try slitting them into halves, and be sure to keep an eye on the grill as you’ll want to remove the much smaller pieces before the thicker, meatier hunks (a disparity which seems pretty unavoidable with regular, cone-shaped carrots).

fresh spring onions also from the organic farm were grilled for burger fixins’

crisp pea shoots

Also scored on my trip to Garden of Eve was a bunch of freshly greenhouse-grown pea shoots. If you haven’t tasted pea shoots, when they’re young in the spring, I admonish you to give them a try. Like watercress, they have sturdy little stems full of crispness, but with a sorrel-like sweetness in their leaves. You definitely need not travel far to find pea shoots at this time. Queens County Farm Museum is selling them at the Union Square Greenmarket this Friday, as well as many other small farms there and even supermarkets. Because I had such assertive flavor from the carrots and those shoots are so delicate, I coated them in just a little olive oil and lime juice to serve right away, with a dash of salt and pepper.

This salad could have taken more heat and flavors than that, surely. Pretty soon, snap peas and freshly hulled English peas would add a delicate mealiness to such an in-between season dish. But as it was — and since it was so easy just taking along a plastic bag filled with the cut carrots marinating in their gingery juices — it made a fine veggie accoutrement to the barbecue. (I’d recommend double-bagging them if traveling,  just to be safe.) After all, what more could you need than peas and carrots? Like Forrest Gump said, they go together like…

Ginger-Glazed Grilled Carrot and Pea Shoot Salad
(makes about 4-6 servings)

1 lb carrots, peeled, halved and chopped to 1-2″ pieces
about 3 cups fresh pea shoots
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
dash of salt and pepper
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the carrot pieces with the garlic, ginger, juice of half the lime, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper in a bowl and toss well (or combine in a plastic bag and shake). Let marinade for 30 minutes or up to overnight.

Heat a grill to a high flame. Place carrots on the rack split-side down. Cover grill and let cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove cover, and flip carefully once. Cook another 2-4 minutes or until the largest chunks have charred on both sides (removing smaller pieces that have charred first). Let cool a few minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the pea shoots with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and juice of half the lime. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss in the carrots and serve immediately.

Cost Calculator
(for 4-6 servings)

1 lb Thumbelina organic carrots (at $2/lb, rough estimate): $2.00
3 cups pea shoots (at $4/quarter lb): $4.00
1 lime: $0.15
2 tablespoons brown sugar: $0.10
2 clove garlic, 1 Tb fresh ginger, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper: $0.25

Total: $6.50

Health Factor

Three brownie points: Pea shoots are filled with Vitamin C, Vitamin A and folic acid, hence, antioxidants, beta-carotene and B-vitamins, and when they’re eaten fresh, all the more. Even when cooked, the carrots will ensure that you’ve met your Vitamin A allotment for the day, although they’re naturally high in sugars and the extra brown sugar and caramelization will add to that.

Green Factor

Nine maple leaves: It’s hard to imagine a more simple and farm-grown meal than a salad of merely two ingredients from an organic farm. Alright, so the seasonings definitely weren’t in season, in these parts, at least — lime and ginger. You could even let the roasted carrots, with just a little olive oil to keep them from sticking to the grill, ride on their own for this salad as an alternative.

17 Responses

  1. Laura

    These look tasty! Must make next time I’m hanging with a grill-owning friend!

  2. Alecia

    just asked all my co-workers “have you ever grilled carrots?” to which all replied “no”. a quick search on the web and here you are! trying the recipe tonight!

  3. Kerstin

    Great idea! I’m not a fan of raw carrots, but I like them cooked in soups, so I bet I’d like them this way too.

  4. David

    In honor of spring and your love of carrots, I want to recommend my favorite carrot salad, a bright, refreshing, very simple, middle-eastern dish totally fitting for the season.

    2 Carrots, sliced thinly on a bias
    1/2 Tbsp Finely chopped cilantro
    1 Tsp Finely chopped mint
    2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
    1 Tsp. cumin
    1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
    Juice of half a lemon
    Salt to taste

    Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. While waiting for your water to heat up, prepare and combine the remaining ingredients. When the water is boiling, blanch the carrots until just barely tender. Drain, and add the carrots to the mixed ingredients immediately.

    I like to let the salad cool down before I eat it so the carrots have enough time to absorb the lemon and garlic flavors.

    Enjoy! For picture, go to

  5. Sophie

    Delicious! A ginger and garlic marinade sounds like a lovely complement.

    It is hardly ever outdoor grilling weather here in the UK so I like to make something akin to David’s suggestion. I roast the carrots in olive oil and cumin, then top them with chopped mint and feta and serve with crispy pitta/flatbread.

  6. Zora

    That’s funny–we just grilled carrots last week! I say “we,” but it was my husband. I participated mostly by looking skeptical and saying, “Well, you better slice ’em up…” (Although I liked the image of whole carrots, lolling around on the grill.) We cut them into planks, and they were sweet and delicious! Will definitely try the ginger glaze next time.

  7. Leah

    Speaking of farms…thanks for the CH CSA information. I just signed up today and can’t wait to start enjoying the organic produce (not to mention the recipes they’ll inspire on NEOINY)!

  8. the bone

    made this today and it was awesome. Th grilled carrots were the best ever, do it.

  9. […] menu consisted of some simply marinated grilled chicken, Ginger-Glazed Grilled Carrots, and some delicious Fennel and Onion […]

  10. Marsha

    May I also recommend grilled green beans? Just toss them in some garlic-infused olive oil, grill until softened slightly and a little charred. Then sprinkle with salt – maybe pepper, too. They are fantastic – better than grilled asparagus!

  11. David

    Wanna see a magic trick?

  12. […] 5. Ginger-Glazed Grilled Carrot and Pea Shoot Salad […]

  13. […] Once again, bunk! Go ahead and roast them with rosemary, or shred them in a raw salad. Recipe: Ginger-Glazed Grilled Carrots Grilled Carrots with Carrot Greens […]

  14. Debbie

    I just purchased a sauté pan that is fill of holes, that is made for the grill. The handle flips up so you can close the grill lid. I just grilled carrots, broccoli, zucchini, & onion, tossed in balsamic vinegar.

  15. […] little marinade and tossed on the grill to finish. I’ve also skipped the parboiling step, in the case of Thumbelina carrots, or just for a more toothsome, raw carrot-like interior. Have fun with it – stuff ‘em in […]


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