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Once a workhorse of the kitchen, this sweet root vegetable has proved that it can be the star of the plate (perhaps because it's such a great blank slate for so many different flavors). One of the great swingers of the vegetable world, carrots work well in dishes both sweet and savory.
1. Braised. Chefs have gone so far as to replace the meat in stews with carrots. For instance, Richard Blais makes a vegan carrot osso bucco. Dan Barber braises whole carrots and serves lamb as the accompaniment. For a super carroty experience, you can braise carrots in fresh carrot juice, like chef Michael Voltaggio.
4. Grilled. Marinate carrots in a spiced oil, season with salt and grill. You can stop here and have an already delicious dish, or you can toss them with a vinaigrette; one made with browned butter is exceptionally delicious.
5. Pickled. Quick-pickled carrots are one of the key garnishes in a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich. You can also play around with the brine (try adding, say, mint and cumin) and serve them alongside any kind of barbecue.
8. Mac & cheese. Feeding a carrot hater? Sneak them into this cheese sauce for macaroni.
9. With its tops. Don't just toss the tops. Use them to make pesto or gremolata.
10. Jam. Cook shredded carrots with sugar until they melt into a jam—a delicious and unusual topping for ricotta.
11. Cake. A classic carrot cake is delicious but a bit of a snore. If you're ready for an update, try this cocoa-carrot loaf cake. Or turn the cake into waffles. (You can substitute all-purpose flour for the gluten-free flour used in the recipe.)
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.