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Rainbow Carrots: Pretty Colors=Pretty Cool Health Benefits


Rainbow Carrots: Pretty Colors=Pretty Cool Health Benefits

When we think of carrots, the color orange typically comes to mind. However, wild-grown carrots a thousand years ago were several different colors – purple, red, and yellow – not orange. The orange carrot became popular 400 years ago when plant cultivators in the Netherlands crossed a red carrot with a yellow carrot and produced a mutant carrot – the orange one we know today. The Dutch plant cultivators created the orange carrot to honor the Dutch Royal House of Orange. Look at that – history and nutrition meet!

Nutritionally speaking, rainbow carrots have something orange carrots don’t – a wider variety of phytonutrients that protect your eyes, heart, and lower cancer risk. Purple, red, and yellow carrots are making a resurgence, and you can find rainbow carrots in many local grocery stores (Clevelanders – check out your local Heinens or Trader Joes!). 

Carrot Colors and Phytonutrient Benefits:

  • Orange (beta-carotene): eye health (beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A)
  • Purple (anthocyanin and beta-carotene): eye health, heart disease prevention
  • Red (lycopene and beta-carotene): reduced risk of cancer (especially prostate cancer)
  • Yellow (xanthophylls and lutein): eye health, cancer prevention

A lot of recipes tell you to peel carrots. Avoid doing this. The fiber and phytonutrients are concentrated in the skin. Peeled carrots, such as baby carrots, are a good food choice, but carrots with skin provide the most nutritional benefits!

Try my honey roasted carrots for a delicious and easy way to incorporate carrots into your meals!

roasted carrots

Honey Roasted Carrots
Recipe Type: Vegetable Side Dish
Author: Gretchen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
  • 4 medium-sized rainbow carrots
  • 1.5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp garam marsala
  • OR
  • 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Chop carrots into “chips” by thinly slicing the carrot diagonally to make oval-shaped pieces.
  3. Place carrots on cookie sheet (I like to line cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup).
  4. Toss carrots with spices, honey, and olive oil until evenly coated. Arrange in a single layer on cookie sheet.
  5. Roast for approximately 20 minutes, or until carrots are slightly caramelized.