Harissa-Maple Roasted Carrots with Whipped Ricotta

Harissa-Maple Roasted Carrots with Whipped Ricotta

This is one of those side dishes that quickly takes the center stage because 1) it's delicious and 2) it's a simply beautiful dish. This is the perfect way to upgrade glazed carrots at Thanksgiving – you get a little sweet, a little spicy, and the fluffy decadence of whipped ricotta cheese.

For the whipped ricotta, you should buy good quality, fresh ricotta cheese. The consistency will be a bit different than what you might normally see at the super-market, most notably is that it's a bit drier. That being said, if your super market only carries one or two varieties of ricotta cheese and you can't find the basket ricotta cheese, you can buy the whole milk kind and strain it.  If you decide to forego all of that and you don't feel like straining it, you can drain off as much of the liquid as possible and just carefully adjust the amount of liquid you add to the ricotta (otherwise, you'll end up with goop.) I recommend going on the hunt for good quality ricotta cheese!

Note: Adjust the sweet and spicy levels to your preferences. If you want it less sweet and more spicy, use less maple syrup and more harissa. If you like it extra sweet, add a few drizzles of maple-lemon dressing on top or omit the dressing entirely if you prefer.


Serves: 4, as a side dish

Cost: $

Skill Level: Easy

Time to Make: 40 minutes (25 minutes inactive)


12 whole carrots, greens trimmed

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon prepared harissa paste (If you can't find harissa paste, you can omit or add a bit of crushed red pepper or cayenne powder to add a touch of heat)

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh minced parsley, optional, for garnish

Whipped Ricotta

4 ounces ricotta cheese, liquid drained

2 teaspoons heavy cream (more or less depending on your ricotta)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt, to taste

Maple-Lemon Dressing

2 teaspoons maple syrup

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon lemon juice


Prepare Ingredients: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Trim the greens from the carrots and scrub the dirt off with a paper towel.

Roast the Carrots: In a bowl, combine the olive oil, maple syrup, and harissa and whisk until smooth. Add the carrots to a roasting pan and toss them in the whisked harissa-maple oil and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the carrots are fork tender, turning once halfway through cooking.

Prepare the Whipped Ricotta: In a food processor, combine the ricotta cheese, heavy cream, extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Pulse until smooth and creamy. If the ricotta seems too thick, add a touch more heavy cream or extra virgin olive oil until your desired consistency is reached. The whipped ricotta should be spreadable. Set aside at room temperature until the carrots have finished roasting.

Prepare the Maple-Lemon Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the maple syrup, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest until smooth. Set aside.

To Serve: Arrange the carrots on a serving platter with a dollop of the whipped ricotta on top. Sprinkle the dish with a bit of minced fresh parsley. Finish with a few drizzles of the maple-lemon dressing. Serve at the table with additional dressing and whipped ricotta for your guests to add more as they like. Enjoy!

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Serve a dollop of whipped ricotta on top. If you like it extra sweet, add a few drizzles of maple-lemon dressing on top.

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Designer and photographer living in NYC. I work as a design manager in ed tech and I make tasty recipes in my spare time!