Cooking / Gardening

How to make your own smoky, sweet ‘n salty “carrot jerky”

What’s the most popular vegetable in the world? Potatoes. So, what’s Number 2? Carrots. If you’re like me, you adore carrots but struggle to find new and interesting ways to prepare them. Here are 5 of my favorite carrot recipes including this recipe for:

Carrot Jerky

Smoky-sweet-salty, this vegan jerky recipe is delicious! I’ve also converted turnips and other root crops into bacon with yummy results. The original recipe comes from the Wicked Healthy cookbook, a compilation of recipes that are SO GOOD, you won’t believe they’re plant-based!

4 to 6 large carrots
1/4 cup tamari, soy sauce, or liquid aminos, such as Dr. Braggs
2 TBL maple syrup
2 tsp Sriracha sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder

Slice carrots super thin (a mandolin set on the thinnest setting is perfect for this). To make the marinade: Into a bowl or jar, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add carrots and toss gently until evenly coated. Cover and marinate for at least 8 hours in the fridge. Stir them occasionally.

To dry carrots using the oven: Heat oven to 275-degrees F. Lightly coat a rimmed cookie sheet with oil. Arrange carrot slices in a single layer and bake until crisp, turning halfway through cooking. Cool and store in an airtight container.

To dehydrate carrots (my favorite method): Place strips in single layers on screens in a dehydrator (Excalibur is my all-time favorite dehydrator) and set it to 110 to 125 degrees F. Drying will take 4 to 6 hours depending on the thickness of your slices and whether you’re looking for a “bacon” (chewier) or a jerky (crispier).

> > > I’ll share more carrot recipes below, but first I wanted to add this tip for all you carrot growers:

The #1 challenge when growing carrots

When it comes to growing carrots, there is one question that stands above all others: “What causes forked carrots?”

You’ve seen then…instead of a single root, you end up with something that resembles multi-legged ballerinas and carrot joggers.

During my 35+ years of gardening and teaching, I’ve found there are three things that cause carrots to fork.

  1. Stubbing toes: When carrots stub their toes on rocks as they grow downward, guess what happens? Solution: Since carrots prefer a fluffy loam or sandy soil, dig in some compost or add sand or volcanic ash.
  2. Too much of a good thing: You can use manure, too, but make sure it’s been composted first. Too much nitrogen can cause carrots to fork or develop an unattractive, hairy appearance.
  3. They don’t like crowds: Growing carrots too close to each other can lead to twisted roots or to tiny roots. Solution: Thin carrots when the leaves are a few inches tall.

ATTENTION GARDENERS! If your compost isn’t working as it should, then I invite you to discover your #1 composting mistake by taking my assessment here.

Let’s check out more carrot recipes…

Lime and Carrot Salad

In India, carrots are a national vegetable and are the centerpiece in many recipes. This simple lightly spiced salad is the perfect side dish or wrap filler.

5 carrots
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 TBL olive oil
1 TBL mustard seeds
1 TBL lime or lemon juice

Wash the carrots and grate them in a bowl. Toss with salt and lemon juice. Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and as soon as they begin to pop, pour the contents of the pan, oil, and seeds, over the carrots. Toss and serve at room temperature or chilled.

Carrot and Red Onion Salad

The perfect salad for fall and winter…

3 carrots
1 medium red onion
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper
4 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

Peel carrots and cut them into 1/8-inch slices, and then cut across the slices to make “matchsticks.” Halve the onion lengthwise and then cut it into 1/8-inch slices. Bring 2 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Throw in the carrots. Return to a boil. Count to three and drain carrots immediately and rinse them under cold, running water. Drain again. In a bowl, combine carrots, onions, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and ginger. Toss to mix. Salad can be served immediately or chilled for 3 hours.

Carrot ‘n Spice Pancakes

These pancakes are smaller versions of a carrot cake dessert, only you get to eat them for breakfast!

To two cups of your favorite pancake batter (try whole wheat or buckwheat), fold in the following ingredients:
3/4 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom (good, but optional)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon.
1/2 tsp. ground ginger or 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Cook batter on a hot skillet and serve with yogurt, maple syrup, or your favorite fresh fruit, jam, or jelly.

Pickled Carrots

Serve these pickled carrots as an appetizer, salad garnish, with rice or as a side dish with soups, stews, or hearty sandwiches.

2 pounds of carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
3/4 cup white or cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 to 2 tsp mixed whole pickling spices

Bring vinegar, water, sugar, and spices to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. In a separate pan, cook carrots in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain the carrots and pack them in hot, sterilized pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch of headroom. Cover with the hot pickling liquid, seal, and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. For refrigerator pickles, pour in the hot pickling liquid and let the jars cool to room temperature. Store them in the refrigerator. Makes 4 pints.

Be sure to check out the Wicked Healthy cookbook… The recipes are wonderful, discoveries into the world of vegan food. Below is a 1-minute video about how to make a FABULOUS vegan cheese sauce.

Vegan Cheese Sauce (1:00)

Dear friends,

We’ve followed a plant-based eating lifestyle since 2016. Have you ever considered changing to a vegan or whole-food, plant-based diet? Do YOU have a favorite carrot recipe? Leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer any questions or provide resources for you.

Cheers and blessings to you and your family,

P.S. I’ll leave you with this Irish Proverb about carrots:

Never bolt your door with a boiled carrot.



  • Kristy Woodbury
    September 23, 2020 at 6:19 AM

    Signing up for the newsletter. Thanks ?

    • marionowen
      October 24, 2020 at 11:45 AM

      Hi Kristy…Thanks for checking in! Were you able to sign up for the newsletter? If not, what is your email address and I’ll do it for you. Cheers!

  • Ginny McBee
    September 3, 2020 at 1:47 PM

    We are friends on FB and I always love your posting. I want more!


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