Carrot Pasta Sauce
Brilliantly hued carrot pasta sauce is delightfully different and surprisingly delicious. Add it to your favorite pasta and you’ll see!
Why you’ll love it: Carrot pasta sauce is unique, nutritious, and beautiful. It’s also addictively tasty!
How long it takes: 25 minutes (includes time to cook pasta)
Equipment you’ll need: skillet with lid, pasta pot, blender
Isn’t this pasta so pretty? The carrot-y pasta really is so unique and brilliantly colored (although I do admit, it looks a bit like mac and cheese!).
Carrot pasta sauce is creamy and so satisfying. We love it as a pasta side dish with baked salmon or classic meatloaf. It also goes great with air fryer chicken tenders or easy air fryer chicken breasts, or grilled chicken. Serve a side salad dressed with carrot vinaigrette to extend the carrot theme.
I love the idea of changing things up a bit. Why not carrots? They’re sweet, flavorful, and inexpensive.
They also happen to be super nutritious. A single serving of this pasta has 11,161 IU of Vitamin A! Carrots have many health benefits. They are a good source of beta carotene which has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer (Healthline).
Your mother may have said, “Eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyes” and she’s right. Carrots do help keep your eyes healthy. And they taste good, too.
Try something a little different tonight! I like to serve this to guests and surprise them with a dish that’s a bit unique. Carrot pasta is mildly flavored, very creamy, and slightly sweet. Everyone loves it.
About This Recipe
Carrot sauce may be unlike any pasta sauce you’ve ever tried before. If you’re looking for a more traditional Italian sauce, you’ll want to try my homemade spaghetti sauce, Instant Pot bolognese (or turkey bolognese), or crockpot spaghetti sauce.
I like to think outside the box which may explain my penchant for unique sauces like broccoli pesto or arugula pesto. Sometimes desperation breeds creativity. I look in my pantry/refrigerator and come up with a recipe that uses what I find. Other times, I just have a brainstorm and think, why not?
This carrot pasta sauce recipe is fairly uncomplicated. It shouldn’t take you much more than a half hour to make. I hope you have a chance to give it a try soon.
Look for the printable recipe card with complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information near the end of this post.
What You’ll Need
- Carrots: The superhero of this sauce, you’ll need about 4 cups of diced raw carrots, or about a pound of carrots. Scrub the carrots well or peel them before chopping.
- Shallots: A cousin of onions, shallots have milder, sweeter flavor, which qualifies them as the perfect sidekick. If you can’t find shallots, a small yellow onion will do the job. too.
- Olive Oil: You’ll need just a splash for the pan when you sauté the carrots and onions.
- Salt & Pepper: We almost always recommend kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper for the best flavor. It’s also what we test our recipes with, so for accurate taste, it’s best to use this combo. If you use a finer ground pepper, more will fit in the measuring spoon, yielding a spicier end result.
- Garlic: The recipe calls for four cloves of fresh garlic. It’s easy to decrease (or increase!) the garlic if you like.
- Red Pepper Flakes: Dried pepper flakes add a spicy little tingle to the sauce. It’s pretty subtle but adds an element of excitement.
- Vegetable Broth: To keep the sauce vegetarian, I like to use vegetable broth. Chicken broth is fine, too. Look for low sodium or unsalted broth.
- White Wine Vinegar: Since this is a no tomato sauce, it’s very low in acidity. The vinegar helps balance the sauce.
- Heavy Cream: I think you’ll be surprised that only a quarter cup of cream is added. The sauce looks and feels very creamy.
- Parmesan Cheese: Use a good quality cheese to top the pasta. It can be shredded, grated, or shaved. Curls of shaved Parmesan on top of the pasta make a nice presentation.
- Chopped Chives: This grass-like herb adds a subtle garlicky onion flavor. The spiky lavender colored flowers are flavorful too. If chives aren’t available, substitute another fresh herb such as Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, oregano, or sage.
- Pasta: Choose any type of pasta you like. You’ll need 12 ounces of dry pasta.
How to Make This Recipe
You’ll need a good half hour to prepare this dish. Get started by prepping the carrots, shallots, and garlic. Put a pot of salted water on the stove for the pasta, too.
In a large skillet that has a cover, heat a splash of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the carrots and shallots, season with salt and a couple grinds of black pepper, and cook for five minutes or so, until they begin to get tender and brown a bit.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook for one more minute, stirring constantly. The garlic will smell really fragrant and delicious. Don’t let it burn!
Add the broth and bring the pan to a boil. Cover, and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer the carrots until they’re very tender, about 20 minutes. The cooking time depends on how finely the carrots are diced.
Carefully transfer the contents of the skillet to your blender or food processor.
Process until the sauce is quite smooth.
Add the cream and purée until very smooth. Taste the sauce, and season with salt, if needed.
When the pasta is finished cooking (al dente), reserve a half cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir in the carrot sauce until the pasta is completely coated.
Thin the sauce with the reserved pasta water, if necessary.
Divide the lovely orange pasta between serving plates. Garnish each serving with Parmesan cheese, chopped chives (flowers, too, if you want!), and additional red pepper flakes.
Make It Your Own
- Instead of Parmesan cheese and chives, garnish the pasta with a spoonful of basil pesto. So tasty and colorful!
- Another topping idea is toasted bread crumbs. Did you know you can easily make your own bread crumbs? Toasted pine nuts are a great topping, too.
- If fresh chives aren’t available, garnish the pasta with another fresh herb, such as Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, oregano, or sage.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Refrigerate leftover pasta with sauce in a covered container for up to three days. Cream sauces can be frozen successfully although I haven’t tried it with this carrot pasta sauce yet. Thaw frozen sauce overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Reheat individual portions in the microwave until warmed through. Do not overheat. To reheat sauce that has been frozen: The sauce may appear to be separated (watery). Stir it well as you slowly reheat it in a saucepan or skillet. It should come back together. Add cooked pasta to the pan and stir to coat.
More Carrot Recipes
Looking for more ways to incorporate healthy and delicious carrots into your diet? Try:
- Creamy Carrot Soup
- Carrot Ginger Soup Recipe (vegan and Whole30)
- Roasted Carrots with Thyme and Nutmeg
- Crockpot Carrots with Cinnamon Glaze
- Roasted Carrots with Cumin Seeds
- Healthy Carrot Raisin Muffins
- Carrot Cake Slow Cooker Oatmeal
- Carrot, Orange, and Ginger Juice without a juicer!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
- 12 oz. pasta, uncooked (see note)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups diced carrots (about 1 pound)
- 1 cup diced shallots (2 shallots)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon coarse ground pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, more for garnish
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup chopped chives, more for garnish
- In large skillet over medium high heat, heat olive oil. Add carrots and shallots, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add garlic and red pepper flakes; stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
- Add broth and vinegar, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until carrots are very tender.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water; drain pasta.
- When carrots are tender, carefully transfer carrot mixture to a blender and purée until smooth. Add cream and blend until smooth.
- Return sauce to pan. Add cooked pasta and stir to coat. Thin with reserved pasta water, if needed.
- Serve topped with Parmesan cheese, additional chives, and red pepper flakes, if desired.
- Carrot sauce can be served with any type of pasta, including whole wheat, gluten-free or regular.
- More Topping Ideas: Instead of Parmesan and chives, top the pasta with a spoonful of pesto or toasted bread crumbs.
- Recipe revised and updated 7/28/2022.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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