Roasted rainbow carrots are tossed in a spicy blend, served over goat cheese and topped with a homemade pistachio pesto.  Learn how to roast whole carrots in the oven for an elegant side dish that is worthy enough to make an appearance on your holiday table!

Roasted rainbow carrots with pistachio pesto and a sprinkle of pistachios on a white plate.

Roasted Rainbow Carrots That Are TO. DIE. FOR!

Every month or two I invite a few girlfriends over to the house and we enjoy a delightful potluck-style dinner.

This last “girls’ night” had a Fall-inspired theme.  For the main course we enjoyed bowls full of Instant Pot Pumpkin Chicken Chili and this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.

And then my sweet friend, Sarah, brought over these roasted rainbow carrots that were seriously TO. DIE. FOR.  It took all I had within me to save a few for Cohl to try when he got home.

The next day I immediately texted Sarah to find out what spices she used on the whole roasted carrots and how she made that delicious homemade pistachio pesto sauce.

So today I bring to you the highlight of our Fall girls’ night!  Below you will learn how to roast carrots, if you have to peel carrots, what spice blend is used, and how to make homemade pistachio pesto that is both dairy-free and vegan.

Roasted whole carrots on a white plate with homemade pistachio pesto.

What Kind of Rainbow Carrots?

Making whole roasted rainbow carrots has a few advantages:

  • A blend of white, orange, yellow, and purple carrots looks absolutely BEAUTIFUL!
  • The difference in color means they each boast a slightly different nutritional profile.
    • While orange carrots are known to be loaded with beta-carotene, purple carrots also have anthocyanin and yellow carrots have more lutein.
  • These beautiful rainbow carrots are NOT genetically modified and are actually found like this in nature!!

But what if you cannot find whole rainbow carrots?

No worries!  Simply use the same amount of regular whole carrots and cook for the same amount of time as below or use baby rainbow carrots and reduce your cook time to 15-25 minutes.

Rainbow carrots that have been peeled and are on a wooden cutting board.

Do You Have to Peel Carrots?

You do not have to peel carrots, but oftentimes it is preferred due to some people’s aversion to carrots’ “bitter skin.”  If you choose not to peel carrots, make sure you remove all of the dirt and debris, scrub well, and choose organic over non-organic.

If you choose to peel your rainbow carrots, a simple potato peeler works great.  Peel until the dark ridges are no longer visible on the carrot.  (As pictured above.)

Roasted whole carrots on a white plate on a white background.

How to Roast Carrots?

Roasting carrots brings out their natural sweetness and tastes incredible when paired with a blend of spices.  You will only need a few kitchen utensils when roasting whole carrots:

  • Potato peeler – As mentioned previously to peel your carrots.
  • Large baking sheet – Make sure this is large enough to place your rainbow carrots in a single layer.
  • Parchment paper – Optional, but it helps the carrots not to stick to your baking sheet.
  • Aluminum foil – this creates a mini-oven within the oven to speed up the roasting process.

Once you have peeled your rainbow carrots you will toss them in a bit of olive oil and place them in a single layer on a large baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.  Next, you will sprinkle a spice blend over the rainbow carrots and toss them until they are well coated.

How long to Roast Rainbow Carrots?

Determining how long to bake roasted rainbow carrots in the oven comes down to how thick they are.  The recipe outlined below roasts the rainbow carrots for a total of 35-45 minutes.  This time is based on medium-sized whole carrots.

  • If your rainbow carrots are on the smaller size, you will want to decrease the baking time.
  • If the rainbow carrots you are using are larger, you can cut them in half or increase your baking time.

A spice blend of turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, coriander, and paprika in a clear bowl.

What About that Delicious Spice Blend?

In all seriousness, I think this spice blend absolutely MAKES these roasted rainbow carrots everything they are!  And the best part?  You probably have most of these spices already in your kitchen:

  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • Coriander
  • Cayenne pepper

Simply whisk these spices together, sprinkle them over the rainbow carrots, and watch the magic happen!

Homemade pistachio pesto ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.

Pistachio Pesto

These roasted rainbow carrots can absolutely hold their own and do not NEED this pistachio pesto, but it will absolutely take this recipe over the edge if you make it!

While the rainbow carrots are roasting in the oven, add your pistachio pesto ingredients to the bowl of a food processor or blender.  When making small batches of sauces or salad dressing, a mini-prep food processor works best since you have more control over the consistency of your pesto.  A blender will tend to over-blend the pesto if not monitored closely.

Cook’s Tip: If you are not dairy-free or vegan, use Parmesan cheese in place of the nutritional yeast.

Whole roasted rainbow carrots in a pile on a white plate with pistachios sprinkled around.

Want more recipes like these Roasted Rainbow Carrots?

Honey Roasted Carrots with Herbs

Slow Cooker Honey Glazed Carrots

Roasted Sweet Potato Cubes

Honey Oven Roasted Broccoli with Garlic

Tap stars to rate!

4.50 from 6 votes

Roasted Rainbow Carrots

Roasted rainbow carrots are tossed in a spicy blend, served over goat cheese and topped with a homemade pistachio pesto.
Yield 8
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Total 1 hour


Roasted Rainbow Carrots

  • 2 lbs. rainbow carrots peeled*
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric
  • ½ tsp. coriander
  • tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • ½ lemon juice

Pistachio Pesto

  • ½ cup basil packed (1.5 ounces)
  • 1 Tbsp. pine nuts
  • 3 Tbsp. pistachio nuts
  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast*
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil

To Serve:

  • 2 ounces goat cheese optional
  • Pistachios optional
  • Parsley optional


Roasted Rainbow Carrots:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Toss peeled carrots in 2 tablespoons olive oil and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a single layer.
  • In a small bowl whisk together cumin, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, cayenne pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt. Sprinkle seasonings over carrots and toss to combine.
  • Cover carrots with aluminum foil and bake in oven for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue roasting carrots for 25-35 minutes or until fork tender. When carrots are done roasting, drizzle 1 tablespoon honey and squeeze the juice of ½ lemon over them.

Pistachio pesto:

  • Add basil, nuts, yeast, garlic, lemon juice, and salt to the bowl of a food processor or high-speed blender.
  • Pulse 5-10 times. Turn processor on and drizzle in olive oil until pesto is to your desired consistency.
  • Spread goat cheese on a serving tray, place carrots, drizzle pesto, and top with additional pistachios and chopped parsley. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tap stars to rate!

4.50 from 6 votes


  • This recipe is for whole carrots. If you have baby rainbow carrots reduce your bake time to 20-25 minutes.
  • If you are not vegan or dairy-free, you can use Parmesan cheese instead of the nutritional yeast.


Calories: 210kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 225mg, Potassium: 513mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 19475IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 67mg, Iron: 1.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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