11 Carrot Substitutes for Desserts and Cooked Dishes

Between so many root vegetables, carrots may be your favorite. It is rich in vitamins and nutrients and is one of the most widely used veggies for cooked dishes, desserts, smoothies and not only. 

You can even eat it just the way it is and enjoy its sweet, earthy and woody flavor. Sometimes carrots are one of the basic ingredients in many cakes, salads, soups and cooked meals. 

But what if you have run out of it and can’t skip that ingredient? Let’s get to know some good carrot substitutes that can be used to replace it in sweet and savory dishes. 

The best replacements for carrots are baby carrots, parsnips, squash, beets, daikon, zucchini, cucumber, turnips, jicama and water chestnut. 

1. Baby Carrots

Baby carrots are practically the same as regular carrots. They are peeled, washed and chopped carrots in a smaller size meant for more convenient usage. You can find them in supermarkets. 

These are quick and easy substitutes for carrots and offer the same nutrients and taste the same way as larger ones. You can use them in any recipe calling for common orange-colored carrots.  

2. Parsnips

Parsnips are carrot-like root vegetables available in markets and stores. They taste like licorice with sweet and slightly spicy hints and provide a subtler and milder taste to the dish. 

You can choose them to use instead of carrots in savory dishes such as soups, stews, baked dishes, with  roast, pureed or fried vegetables. 

As for the color, they are light creamy but the peel is usually removed before using just like in the case of carrots. Both carrot and parsnips come with equal amounts of calcium content. 

3. Squash

An awesome substitute that’s as sweet as carrot is squash. Botanically it’s a fruit and can be used in many desserts and sweet dishes instead of carrots. 

However, it tastes just like carrot in soups and you can safely use the same amount in your favorite carrot and cream soups. 

It is rich in vitamins, fiber and water and is considered to be a good hydrating food for the body. The seeds, the skin and the fruitmeat are soft enough to eat both raw or cooked. 

4. Beets

It’s a good idea to replace carrots with beets in salads. Many recipes require almost the same accompanied ingredients for carrot and beet-based salads. For example, you can combine them with beans and potatoes and the taste will be similar. 

Beets are also great alternatives for carrots in soups, stews, smoothies and roasted dishes. They have a similar sweet and earthy taste like carrots and come with almost the same texture. 

The main difference, however, is in color. Beets tend to make your dish bright burgundy, but if it doesn’t matter, then go ahead with this super nutritious and healthy vegetable. 

5. Daikon

If you are familiar with Asian cuisine then perhaps you have seen daikon in many soup and stew recipes. Daikon is a white radish that looks like carrot but tastes like red radish only with a milder flavor. 

You can use it the same way as carrots in savory dishes including soups, stews, boil and steamed dishes as well as in baking. 

6. Zucchini

Compared to some other substitutes, zucchini has a milder taste and juicier fruit meat. It is an easy substitute for carrots, especially when in season. You can use it in salads, soups and sometimes even smoothies and juices to replace carrots.

Zucchini has a mild flavor with slightly sweet and bitter notes. Although it is safe to eat zucchini raw, many people prefer to cook it before eating. So, consider this as an equally healthy alternative for carrots in cooked dishes. 

7. Cucumber

Yes, you can use cucumber to substitute carrot especially in smoothies and juices. Of course, it is juicier than carrots and if you want to get the same texture, then mind the ratios of other ingredients in your recipe or use one large cucumber for 5 carrots. 

You may use cucumbers in salads too and they will bring a milder taste and more freshness than carrots. 

8. Turnips

Turnip is another root vegetable with a mild flavor. It has a slightly spicy and bitter flavor like radish and arugula.  Its taste is something between radish and cabbage and the texture is similar to carrots. 

You can use turnips both raw and cooked in salads and baked dishes. Just make sure to peel the skin before using.

Older turnips taste like potatoes. You can combine them with the same ingredients of your carrot dish and add the same spices. 

9. Jicama

Are you familiar with jicama? It’s also called Mexican turnip or Mexican potato. It’s a sweet root vegetable with brown skin and white inside: something between potato and apple.

Its mild sweet flavor and tough texture allows it to be on this list of carrot alternatives. 

You can use jicama in salads, sauteed and stir fried dishes, with roasted vegetables and chips. It’s better to grill or stir-fry it if you want to use it as a substitute in cooked dishes. 

10. Water Chestnut

Water chestnuts grow in the Southeast of Asia and are considered as sweet vegetables. They have deep brown skin and are white inside. You need to peel off the skin and use the sweet and nutty part of it. 

Water chestnut is something between an apple and coconut. You can use this vegetable in place of carrots in soups, sweet dishes and desserts. It is crispy and crunchy and you can eat it both raw and cooked. 

11. Rutabaga

Rutabaga, also called swede, is one of the most delicious root vegetables. It has a rich taste that reminds of a good combination of sweet, savory, bitter and buttery flavors. 

Raw rutabaga is juicy and the cooked one is sweet-buttery with savory notes. You should peel the skin first and then use it as a carrot replacer. 

FAQs on Carrots

What can I use instead of carrots in carrot cake?

Squash and pumpkin are the best substitutes for carrots in carrot cake. However, if the color doesn’t matter you may try other alternatives too, such as water chestnut. 

Can I use sweet potato in place of carrot?

If the thing is about roasted vegetables, then why not? Sweet potatoes have almost the same texture as carrots when roasted or cooked. 

Are carrots keto friendly?

Yes, carrots can be a part of your keto diet. You can use them both raw and cooked as they maintain their carb content even when cooked. 

What can I substitute for carrots in a diet?

Almost all the above-mentioned substitutes are healthy and diet-friendly. But if you are looking for a substitute to use in your weight loss diet, then consider vegetables lower in carb and sugar content such as cauliflower, broccoli and celery. 

Final Words

Carrots are useful, tasty and good for your health. If they often take place in your pantry, then these carrot substitutes can come for help whenever you run out of them or need a unique change in your recipe. 

You cannot copy content of this page