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Buttery peas and carrots are a classic staple on many dinner tables. Now give the veggies a simple flavor upgrade by tossing them in browned butter and nobody will be able to resist them. It is a quick and easy way to take an easy vegetable side dish to the next level in just minutes and with only a few ingredients and just a bit of deliciously nutty brown butter. Plus they are gluten free!
Originally published on Dec 22, 2015
My boys are three years apart. Before the little one was born, I had daydreams about my little guys being best buds.
However, being three years apart, a newborn was not a good playmate for a three-year-old big brother. A baby brother who could barely walk and a preschooler who wanted to run around and play were hard to juggle sometimes. And then the little one did not understand when the big one set up his action figures in a “scene” while the big one barely understood a word the little one says.
But after all of that, despite moments of fighting and bickering and taking toys from each other, I think they finally do go together like peas and carrots.
The phrase was popularized by one of the most quotable movies of all time, Forrest Gump, as Forrest described his friendship with Jenny. You know, perfect pairings. Things that just go so well together that they are almost inseparable. Peanut butter and jelly, chips and salsa, cookies and milk.
But the saying really came from the fact that these veggies truly are a match made in food heaven.
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.
Speaking of the colors, these bright vegetables also look bright and pretty together.
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.
How to make peas and carrots taste good
I have one word.
I know you are thinking that I just spoke about how healthy they are and now I’m going to just douse them in butter. But I have a secret.
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.
And in this dish, you only need a tablespoon for the whole recipe to add a seriously nutty and fragrant flavor punch.
That makes this recipe not only delicious, but also healthy, gluten free, and paleo (if you use ghee). And the kids will gobble down those golden coins and green drops. Winning!
The only tricky thing about this recipe is browning the butter. You need to be careful not to burn it.
Here are a few quick pro tips for perfectly browned butter.
To not burn browned butter
- Heat a pan over medium-low heat.
- Add the butter, let it melt and start to foam.
- Now just go slow and watch it carefully, keeping the heat low and not rushing the process.
- Stir frequently with a whisk or spatula until the butter becomes golden in color and some brown bits start to collect at the bottom.
- 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.
Browned Butter Peas and Carrots Recipe
This is a super simple way to add a ton of flavor to plain old, same old veggies. Those buttered carrots and peas will have an extra punch of deep, rich, nutty flavor. Yes, even the kids will devour them!
Here is a brief overview so you can see just how easy it is to make. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full quantities and details.
But don’t skip my PRO TIPS below!
- Fresh carrots
- Unsalted butter
- Frozen peas
- Fresh thyme (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- 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 – you can save time by browning the butter while the carrots cook. But if you want fewer dishes, you can skip the skillet and brown the butter int he pot after steaming the carrots and pouring out the water.
- Whisk and spatula
How to make buttered carrots and peas?
All of the details are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. But here is a brief overview just to show you how easy they are to make.
- Peel and cut the carrots into slices.
- Steam the carrots until crisp-tender.
- While the carrots are steaming, brown the butter following the directions above.
- 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.
Brianne’s Pro Recipe Tips
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.
Make ahead tips
You can serve them immediately. But they can also be stored in the refrigerator overnight in an airtight container. Then reheat in a skillet or in the microwave.
What to serve peas and carrots with
- This kid-friendly side goes great with a kid-friendly dinner like Beefaroni.
- This recipe is so super quick you can easily serve it with a weeknight meal of Worcestershire Sauce Cubed Steak.
- Pair these buttery veggies with a Lemon Herb Crockpot Roast Chicken for Sunday dinner.
- Beef and Potato Skillet Dinner is another classic dish.
- 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.
More easy vegetable side dish recipes
- Orange Glazed Green Beans with Cranberries
- Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash
- Dijon Apple Slaw
- Horseradish Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin
- Roasted Balsamic Vegetables
Brown Butter Peas and Carrots Recipe
Just a bit of deliciously nutty browned butter adds a huge punch of flavor to this easy side dish. These aren’t your basic buttered carrots and peas, 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.
I hope you’ll leave a comment and give it a FIVE STAR rating or share a photo on this pin on Pinterest!
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.