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Looking for an easy way to upgrade a basic veggie side dish? This Brown Butter Peas and Carrots recipe is simple but so flavorful! Give basic buttered carrots and peas a flavor upgrade in just minutes and with only a few ingredients to make them so hard to resist.
Peas and Carrots – a perfect match
Have you heard the saying, “what grows together goes together?” Fruits and vegetables that grow under similar conditions in similar locations and in a similar timeframe are not only ready to harvest at the same time. But they also tend to taste good together. This is the case with carrots and peas.
Of course these days, fresh carrots are available year-round and frozen peas preserve the sweet flavor and bright color at their peak. So this veggie combo makes a great side dish any time of the year.
And let’s talk about the health benefits. While both are nutritious on their own, when combined, they complement each other. While both provide plenty of fiber, the peas add protein. While carrots bring most of the Vitamin A to the party, peas bring the Vitamin C. And together they provide a good dose of both B and K vitamins.
These veggies truly are a match made in food heaven.
How to make peas and carrots taste good
I have one word – butter. Specifically, though, it’s all about browned butter.
Just a bit of deliciously nutty browned butter adds a huge punch of flavor to this easy side dish. When you brown the butter, you really only need a little to transform a dish. Low carb cauliflower rice becomes anything but basic. It makes mashed butternut squash velvety and delicious. And the fresh flavors of simply sauteed summer vegetables really pop.
So these aren’t your basic buttered carrots and peas. They have an extra punch of deep, rich, nutty flavor. But they still are super simple. Only a few ingredients and just a few minutes of prep time and you have a veggie dish that easily goes from weeknight dinner to a holiday meal.
This is a super simple way to add a ton of flavor to plain old, same-old veggies. You only need a few ingredients and a few simple steps. Here is a quick overview, with the full amounts and instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Fresh carrots – peeled and sliced about 1/4-inch thick. They look really elegant cut at an angle, but you can just cut them into circles.
- Unsalted butter – ghee can also be used to make this recipe paleo-friendly.
- Frozen peas – regular or petite peas work, depending on your preference. No need to thaw them.
- Fresh thyme – optional, but it adds a nice flavor that pairs especially well with holiday meals. You can also use other herbs, such as parsley.
- Salt and pepper – to taste.
How to Make Buttered Carrots and Peas
Prepare the carrots. Peel and slice the carrots, then steam them until crisp-tender, or to your desired texture.
Brown the butter. Heat a pan over medium-low heat. Add the butter, let it melt and start to foam. Stir frequently with a whisk or spatula until the butter becomes golden in color and some brown bits start to collect at the bottom.
Combine and heat through. Add steamed carrots and frozen peas to the butter, and stir to coat. Cook until peas are hot and carrots are golden. Stir in the thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Tips for Success
Do not burn the butter. Go slow and watch it carefully, keeping the heat low. Do not rush the process. Stir it frequently until the color is golden but not too dark. If it starts to burn, you’ll need to throw it away and start over or it will taste very bitter. In this case, it’s fine to not get it completely browned before adding the carrots and peas, because it’ll continue to develop its flavors and aroma after you toss in the veggies.
Dirty fewer dishes. If you want to make this all in one pot, you can steam your carrots and remove them from the pot. Then, after pouring out the water, brown the butter in the same pot and proceed.
Make ahead and store leftovers. You can serve them immediately. But they can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 days in an airtight container. Then reheat in a skillet or in the microwave.
What to serve with peas and carrots
- This kid-friendly side goes great with a kid-friendly dinner like Beefaroni or Homemade Sloppy Joes.
- This recipe is so super quick you can easily serve it with a weeknight meal of Worcestershire Sauce Cubed Steak or classic Beef and Potato Skillet Dinner.
- Pair these buttery veggies with a Lemon Herb Crockpot Roast Chicken or savory Bottom Round Roast for Sunday dinner.
- Add them as a simple side with your Roast Turkey for Thanksgiving or Baked Ham for Easter.
- And of course, the rich flavor from the browned butter makes this perfect for a holiday meal, perhaps alongside a Cranberry Crusted Prime Rib Roast.
Things You’ll Need
VEGETABLE PEELER – I’ve been using this one same OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler for years. It’s sturdy so it holds up to lots of wear and tear. But the rubberized grip makes it soft and easy to hold onto.
POT WITH STEAMER INSERT – you can get a special steamer pot, but I prefer to just use one of my own pots and one of the inexpensive collapsible steamer baskets.
LARGE SKILLET – a good stainless steel skillet can be an investment, but it’s a workhorse in my kitchen.
WHISK – it’s good to keep a variety of sizes of whisks on hand. Make sure you are whisking the butter while it is browning to keep it from burning.
Brown Butter Peas and Carrots
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into quarter inch thick slices
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 8 ounces frozen peas
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place carrots in a steamer rack over simmering water and steam until crisp-tender, as you prefer.
- While the carrots are steaming, heat a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the butter, let it melt and start to foam. Stir frequently until the butter becomes golden in color and some brown bits start to collect at the bottom. Be careful not to burn the butter.
- Add the carrots and peas to the butter, stir to coat the peas and carrots.
- Cook until peas are hot and carrots have developed a nice golden color. This will only take a few minutes.
- Stir in the thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately. They can also be stored in the refrigerator overnight in an airtight container. Then reheat in a skillet or in the microwave.
- I like to cut my carrots at an angle, but this is just for appearance. You can just cut them into circles.
- If you want to make this all in one pot, you can steam your carrots and remove them from the pot. Then, after pouring out the water, brown the butter in the same pot and proceed.