Grown-Up Lunch: Roasted Carrots with Smoked Paprika

by Wendy Copley on October 14, 2013

Paprika Roasted Carrots

Back when I started this blog I made bentos for myself (and only myself). In the years since then, my focus has pretty obviously switched to kids lunches for a couple reasons. The main reason is that they are more fun to pack and to look at, but the other reason is that I no longer leave the house to go to work, so I rarely have a reason to pack myself a lunch. Still, I need to eat lunch every day, so I’ve decided to start an occasional series here where I post what I eat for lunch as a work-from-home mom.

As a general rule I like my lunches to come together quickly.  My favorite lunch is dinner leftovers because they are usually pretty tasty and only require a spin in the microwave. I also greatly prefer hot lunches over cold. I’m not a big fan of sandwiches but when I do eat them, I often toast them in the microwave. Finally, I try to eat little or no meat at lunch time. I’m not a vegetarian by any stretch, but I feel it’s generally better for my health, our budget and the planet to keep my meat consumption down.


Today I made a simple lunch with some items from the refrigerator. I had a bag of carrots in the crisper that had been sitting for a few weeks, and I wanted to use them up so I did a quick internet search and found this easy recipe that only used ingredients I had on hand — smoked paprika, olive oil, salt and pepper. The prep took about five minutes, then I popped the carrots in the oven and started this blog post while they roasted. So easy!

I’ll often make a big batch of brown rice at the beginning of the week and I dip into it for my lunches or a quick side dish at dinner-time. (I’ve been very surprised to discover that my kids don’t seem to notice when I give them brown rice! I assumed they’d reject it right off, but they just…eat it.) For this lunch I warmed some up and then topped it with the paprika carrots. Not a lot of protein in this particular meal, but I’ll get plenty at other meals today.


Carrots Roasted with Smoked Paprika
recipe courtesy of Cooking Light


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds medium carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • squirt of lemon juice (optional)


  1. Place a jelly-roll pan on bottom oven rack. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Combine ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Arrange carrot mixture in a single layer on preheated pan. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until tender, stirring after 12 minutes.


I only had a pound of carrots, so I cut all the amounts in this recipe approximately in half. The original recipe also called for cilantro, but because I didn’t have any I just left that out. I didn’t miss it, but I did miss the brightness it would have added to the dish, so instead I squirted a little lemon juice over the top.

The Verdict

These carrots were very flavorful and they made for a very satisfying vegetarian lunch. I’m always surprised by how much richness a teaspoon of smoked paprika can add to a dish and this one was no exception. The sweet carrots, smokey spice and earthy rice all combined wonderfully and the little hit of lemon pulled it all together. This would also make a terrific side dish at dinner time.

Do you eat lunch at home? What do you make when you want a quick lunch?

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