Seven Ways to Use Up Carrots on International Carrot Day

Leah Martin, BLUEPRINT Project Communications Lead 29th March 2022

After potatoes, carrots are the second most wasted vegetable in the UK. In fact, Brits throw away almost 3 million carrots every day (Cooks Larder)! Storing your carrots properly and opting for wonky veg in the supermarket are great ways to reduce your waste, but if you’re looking for more inventive ways to use up surplus carrots this International Carrot Day, keep reading for our top seven tips!

Tray of roasted carrots, tomatoes and fennel
Don't let carrots go to waste this International Carrot Day.

1. Salads and slaws

As Spring arrives in the UK and temperatures rise, you may be opting for lighter meals. Carrots make a great addition to any salad or slaw. You could roast them with chickpeas and feta to top some mixed leaves or grate them straight into a garden salad. Alternatively, slice your carrots into thin matchsticks and mix with cabbage, onion, yoghurt and lemon juice for a fresh Spring slaw.

Carrot and avocado slaw on tortilla.
Carrots add a great crunch to slaw and salads.

2. Replace potatoes and pasta

Did you know carrots can be used to make fries, crisps, mash and spaghetti? Here’s how it’s done:

  • To make crispy carrot fries, simply combine chopped carrots with oil, seasoning and some paprika and roast at 220°C. Leave the fries in the oven for at least 30 minutes and be sure to flip them halfway for even crispiness.
  • Use a mandolin slicer to thinly slice carrots to turn into crisps.  Toss the long, thin slices with oil and seasoning and bake at 220°C for 15 minutes on one side, before flipping over and roasting for a further 10 minutes.
  • Making carrot mash couldn’t be easier! Simply boil sliced carrots, drain, add butter and seasoning and then make a smooth mash with your potato masher.
  • You can make carrot spaghetti using a sprializer or peeler. Pop the carrot pasta in boiling water for five minutes, mix with pesto and enjoy.
Tray of baked carrots.
Use carrots instead of potatoes for a twist on some classic sides.

3. Grow your own

Approximately half of all carrots grown will never make it to your plate. Sometimes this is due to damage in transport, but over 25% are rejected due to cosmetic standards alone (Sustainable Food Trust)! Growing your own carrots is easy and means you can increase the percentage of produce making it to your plate.

Freshly picked bunch of carrots in garden.
There's nothing quite like freshly picked vegetables.

To grow carrots in the garden, simply sow the seeds about 1cm deep at least 15cm apart. Make sure they’re in a sunny spot and you should get homegrown carrots in around 15 weeks. 

4. Try a sweet recipe

We all love the humble carrot cake, but there are tons of other desserts and sweet treats you can make with surplus carrots. Why not add some grated carrot to your blondie mix for a twist on a classic? Alternatively, you could make carrot cake cookies, cinnamon swirls or macarons – the opportunities are endless!

Slice of carrot cake on white plate with bunch of carrots in the background.
Why not try a sweet recipe on International Carrot Day?

5. Soups and sauces

If your carrots are slightly past their best, they’ll still be perfectly fine for soups and sauces. To make a warming soup, simply fry up some carrot, onion, celery and garlic, add vegetable stock, boil, season and blend. Add extra flavour by throwing in some ginger, coriander, or other vegetables, such as peppers, butternut squash or tomatoes.

Carrot soup in white bowl.
Try adding ginger or chilli to your carrot soup for extra warmth.

Lots of sauces also require carrots. Why not make your own katsu curry sauce, or blend roasted carrots with herbs and chopped tomatoes for a yummy pasta sauce? Speaking of pasta, don’t forget you can also blend carrot tops with garlic, hard cheese, lemon, nuts and olive oil for a scrumptious zero-waste pesto.

6. A simple veggie platter

Whether you’re hosting a party or having a few friends round for dinner, you can’t beat a colourful crudité platter. Be sure to add carrot sticks along with celery, bell peppers and tomatoes for a healthy sharing plate. You could even whip up some carrot hummus by blending boiled carrots, chickpeas, oil, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and seasoning.

Vegetable platter with hummus.
Carrot sticks make a great addition to a crudité platter.

7. Juice it

Nothing beats a fresh juice on a warm Spring day. Adding carrot to your juice blend is a great way to get extra vitamins without any hassle. Simply juice your carrots with water, oranges and fresh ginger for a thirst-quenching treat. Alternatively, you could mix in apples, pineapple, turmeric, celery or coconut depending on your flavour preferences.

Carrot juice in kilner jar in front of swimming pool.
Cool down with a refreshing glass of carrot juice.

Want to discover more ways to reduce your food waste? Register for our free food waste session, featuring expert speakers from Hubbub, Kitche and Essex County Council.