Eric and I love carrots.  This is a good thing since they’re a much cheaper vegetable than some of our other favorites like asparagus and bell peppers.  This year I wanted to come up with a few more affordable Thanksgiving side dishes.  I’ve been doing a lot with the food bank and talking to their clients about using special ingredients in small amounts to turn ordinary foods into fancy dishes.  These Maple Orange Carrots with Sage are a great example, and go amazingly with roast turkey or chicken!I have to start out by saying that pancake syrup and maple syrup are NOT the same thing.  Pancake syrup is basically corn syrup, pure processed sugary junk food.  Maple syrup is nothing but sap from a maple tree that’s been boiled.  It’s pure and delicious.

While maple syrup has about the same calorie count as sugar, maple syrup has several nutrients including manganese, zinc and calcium.  It’s also much lower in sodium than honey.

I’ve bought maple syrup a couple different ways.  I used to buy it in a small sampler pack at TJ Maxx.  I could get 4 small bottles in varying grades for just $5.  Although that was a smaller up front price, I now buy a larger bottle at Sam’s Club.  It’s about $15 a bottle but lasts me a long time in the fridge.  We put in into oatmeal, bake and cook with it, and of course pour it over pancakes and waffles.

The other special ingredient in this dish is fresh sage.  I’ve found sage to be one of the easiest herbs to grow in pots or the ground.  It makes it through our snowy winters and does fantastic in the hot summers.  When I’ve had it in a pot and forgotten to water it, the plant quickly bounces back and grows new shoots to replace the dried up dead ones.  Check out my top ten list of herbs if you’d like to learn more about growing your own herbs for affordable cooking.

This carrot recipe is so easy to make and costs less than a lot of the more traditional Thanksgiving side dishes.  It’s also a lot healthier for you than the calorie and sodium laden green bean casserole or the sugary marshmallow topped sweet potato casserole.  We’ll be eating this dish quite a bit over the next month!

So now that I have a big jug of maple syrup in my fridge, I’d love to know, what do you use maple syrup for?


Maple Orange Carrots with Sage

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10-30 minutes
Total time: 15-35 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 4
    large carrots
  • 1 TBS
    coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 TBS
    real maple syrup
  • 1/8 cup
    orange juice, fresh or bottled
  • 10
    sage leaves, cut into thin strips

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel the carrots and slice into coins. Place them in a single layer in a casserole dish or baking pan.
  3. Toss the carrots with the oil and roast for 15 minutes in the oven.
  4. Whisk maple syrup and orange juice together. Pour over carrots and return to oven for another 5-15 minutes, until carrots are easily pierced with a fork.
  5. Remove from oven and toss with sage.

Approximate cost/serving: This ends up costing me just about 50 cents to make.  At six servings that’s less than 10 cents a serving.  Crazy!!!

Vegetarian/Gluten Free:  Yes, no substitutions needed.

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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.