September 23, 2015 20

Spicy + Sweet Maple Carrots with Crispy Lentils + scenes from quebec!

Vegan, gluten-free roasted maple carrots + crispy lentils.

Spicy + Sweet Maple Carrots with Crispy Lentils | Roasted, spicy and sweet maple carrots paired with crispy lentils for a naturally vegan and gluten-free meal. Perfect for the fall, winter or anytime.

I grew up along the Canadian border. Way, way upstate New York. They call it the, North Country. It’s where I spent most of my school-aged to young adult life. And even though I left that area of the world as fast as I could – running off to college and never coming back, my childhood memories of this place are fond. They’re calm and happy and remarkable. I was one of the lucky ones.

During the few months out of the year when the ground wasn’t covered in snow the North Country was a pretty magical place. My days were spent swimming, boating and hiking through the St. Lawrence River Valley. I lived for the water. The smells, the sights, I loved it all. And for the warm evenings spent eating outside, devouring corn on the cob, grilled zucchini and juicy tomatoes plucked straight out of my dad’s garden. And for the bonfires along the riverbank with friends, underaged Labatt Blue drinking, and late-night swimming teenage antics.

Every Wednesday night we crossed the bridge to Canada for my gymnastics class. My mom would bring me and all my classmates. We’d pile into our minivan, blasting James Taylor and disco. And on the way home we’d stop at Tim Hortons and get a box of Timbits. Those where the days, eh?

Spicy + Sweet Maple Carrots with Crispy Lentils | Roasted, spicy and sweet maple carrots paired with crispy lentils for a naturally vegan and gluten-free meal. Perfect for the fall, winter or anytime.

Spicy + Sweet Maple Carrots with Crispy Lentils | Roasted, spicy and sweet maple carrots paired with crispy lentils for a naturally vegan and gluten-free meal. Perfect for the fall, winter or anytime.

Spicy + Sweet Maple Carrots with Crispy Lentils | Roasted, spicy and sweet maple carrots paired with crispy lentils for a naturally vegan and gluten-free meal. Perfect for the fall, winter or anytime.

As soon as the summer buttoned up, the cold came quickly and the snow came even quicker. We ice skated on homemade backyard ice rinks, and sledded down the hills that guarded the river. We attended hockey games, both amateur and professional. We ate poutine and drank mochas. And as a family we visited our neighboring cities Ottawa, and Montreal often. My childhood pastimes felt more Canadian, than American. I’m honored to have been raised with these experiences, and I feel a rich connection to Canada still.

Pure Canada Maple asked me if I wanted to take a trip to Quebec to learn all about maple syrup, its nutritional benefits {yes it’s good for you, keep reading}, and how it plays a role in some athletes diet’s {specifically cyclist}. It felt like a trip home, and it was wonderful.

When I arrived in Quebec City and it was sunny and warm. Here I met my influencer cohorts, Kristen and Kelly, along with a small group of journalists from the UK.  They were all wonderful people. Which was a great thing since we were about to share four very long, maple intensive days together. Together we wondered the city, with backstage passes of the Grand Prix eager to learn all about cycling. Which is totally out of my wheelhouse, btw but interesting nonetheless. We bonded over drinks, and we ate at five starhyper-local restaurants. We interviewed Maple Masters, and learned how maple can be used in both sweet and savory applications. We were given the complete maple treatment.

We then headed to Montreal for another couple of days. There it was rainy and gloomy, but the vibe kinda felt right. We sampled all of the best maple syrup, and accompanying products Quebec had to offer. We hit up the market, met more Maple Masters, interviewed Canada’s leading sports nutritionists, and learned a lot about the history of maple and why it makes for a superior sugar source.

Quebec City, Quebec. | Scenes from Quebec City in the fall.

Quebec City, Quebec. | Scenes from Quebec City in the fall.

Quebec City, Quebec. | Scenes from Quebec City in the fall.

MAPLE SYRUP FACTS! {sourced from Pure Maple Canada}

It is loaded with antioxidants, 54 of them to be exact.

The darker the maple syrup grade, the higher the antioxidant activity.

Sap tapped at the beginning of the harvest season is generally clearer and lighter in taste.

Maple syrup contains maganese, riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium. Other natural sources of sugar like honey and agave contain zero to almost none.

It has 216 calories in a 1/4 cup serving. That’s 44 calories less than honey.

Maple syrup is a 1:1 substitution for other liquid sweeteners.

Maple syrup is totally, sustainable.

Canada produces 71% of the world’s pure maple syrup, 91% of which is produced in Quebec.

It takes forty gallons of maple sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup. Whoa, hey now.

After Quebec, I headed downstate to New York to spend some time with my mom, and my dad. Then I headed into the city for a few day to hang with Kristan and Elizabeth for a Better Homes and Gardens event. Which was amazing.

One last thing! I have a new post on my FEAST Magazine column. It’s a take on these spicy carrots and lentils. I think you’ll dig it. Get the recipe here.

Montreal, Quebec. | Scenes from Montreal in the fall.

Montreal, Quebec. | Scenes from Montreal in the fall.

Montreal, Quebec. | Scenes from Montreal in the fall.

Montreal, Quebec. | Scenes from Montreal in the fall.

Montreal, Quebec. | Scenes from Montreal in the fall.

Montreal, Quebec. | Scenes from Montreal in the fall.

Spicy + Sweet Maple Carrots with Crispy Lentils

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Serves 2 dinner sized portions

Inspired by Olive Magazine, and adapted from my Roasted Fennel + White Beans with Parsley Oil recipe. The 'spicy' part of this recipe is totally optional. I find it balances out the sweet notes with a nice kick, but if spicy isn't your thing the dish is really flavorful without it.


  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked green lentils


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel the carrots, cut them lengthwise and then halved.

Coat the carrots with the olive oil, maple syrup, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper. Spread them onto the baking sheet in a single layer.

Then peel and quarter the onion and place those pieces in with the carrots.

Roast for 25 - 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. They're done when soft, lightly browned and caramelized. Remove the carrots from the oven and when cool enough to touch, toss in the cooked lentils. Spread into a thin layer again, and pop the tray back into the oven. Roast for 5 minutes more.

Remove from the oven and serve warm with a garnish of chopped parsley.

My trip and this post was in partnership with The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers; all opinions are my own.

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20 Responses to "Spicy + Sweet Maple Carrots with Crispy Lentils + scenes from quebec!"

  1. Reply


    September 23, 2015 at 9:21 PM


  2. Reply

    todd wagner

    September 23, 2015 at 10:33 PM

    First off, your childhood sounds simply magical. Secondly, I had no idea all those things were in maple syrup! Third, these carrots are on another level! Sweet, spicy, crispy, YES.

    (p.s. – Labatt Blue!!!!)

  3. Reply


    September 24, 2015 at 1:35 AM

    What a great opportunity. It sounded interesting and fun.LOVE this recipe. Thanks for sharing it

  4. Reply


    September 24, 2015 at 2:57 AM

    Roasted carrots are a total favourite round here and I love the idea of amping up the sweetness with maple syrup but then balancing that with a hit of heat.

  5. Reply


    September 24, 2015 at 6:05 AM

    Oh Sherrie I’m so glad you had a great time in Montreal. Too bad we missed each other but it sounds like you had a jammed packed schedule anyways. I loved reading those memories about your childhood, they totally hit home with me and I laughed out loud about the timbits. I felt like a horrible canadian reading those facts about maple syrup, most of them were new to me – so thanks, eh! :) Wishing you a happy and cozy fall, hope you got sent home with lots of rich dark maple syrup in your carry on to poor over anything + everything, like these carrots – so good xo

  6. Reply

    Sarah | Well and Full

    September 24, 2015 at 7:27 AM

    Ugh your trip sounds absolutely lovely!! I’m quite jealous, to be honest, I would love to go to Canada and learn about maple syrup!! Being from New England we have quite a lot of maple products of our own, but Canada is still the OG of maple syrup ;)

  7. Reply

    Sophie | The Green Life

    September 24, 2015 at 8:58 AM

    I loved reading about your childhood. It brought back so many memories of my own (Labatt Bleue & Timbits. Ha!). It sounds like you had a lovely trip! It makes me miss my hometown a lot now. I knew we produced a lot of maple syrup but 71% of the worlds’? And 91% of it from Quebec only? That’s huge! I had no idea. Thanks for sharing these great facts. It makes me appreciate our good old maple syrup even more. :) I love love love the beautiful dish you’ve created here. Those sweet & spicy flavours and soft & crispy textures sound just PERFECT. I’m making this very soon. <3

  8. Reply

    Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes

    September 24, 2015 at 10:16 AM

    Oh man, that trip sounds totally incredible!! I wish I could have gone. I had no idea you grew up in the North Country. I loved hearing about how you spent your days. Lovely writing. And beautiful images with this post (as always!)

  9. Reply

    Jessie Snyder | Faring Well

    September 24, 2015 at 3:35 PM

    I love your writing (!!!) it makes me want to move to the Canadian border and pour maple syrup on everything. I loved this post and all of the great info/stories/and this recipe! So yummy, Sherrie.

  10. Reply


    September 24, 2015 at 6:18 PM

    What a delightful read! I’m from Ottawa but now reside father up north on lake superior (Thunder Bay). We watch a lot of hockey, have big bonfires in the summer & my french husband will only insist on real maple syrup for his pancakes. Oh ya, and we have a Tim Hortons 2 minutes from our house. Lol

  11. Reply

    Liz @ Floating Kitchen

    September 28, 2015 at 6:16 PM

    Sounds like a fabulous trip! And your childhood memories up in North Country sound pretty dreamy too. As a New Englander, I’m totally obsessed with maple syrup. I think half my blood volume is actually maple syrup. So yeah, totally jealous of your maple adventure! Gorgeous dish. Right up my alley!

  12. Reply


    September 29, 2015 at 4:44 PM

    Who knew there was maple sweetened kombucha? That’s so cool. It seems like you had such a lovely time in Quebec and I loved reading about your fond childhood memories.

    Oh, and these maple roasted carrots… I need them in my life!

  13. Reply

    Elizabeth Porta

    September 30, 2015 at 11:04 AM

    This recipe sounds amazing. Thanks for all the info to about your childhood. You must not be to far from me. I live in Canton, NY a small piece of the North Country! I will be adding this recipe to my menu soon.

    • Reply


      October 1, 2015 at 9:27 PM

      I wasn’t far from you at all! I grew up in Massena. Small world!

  14. Reply

    Shelley | Sevengrams

    October 1, 2015 at 6:38 AM

    Being a native Montrealer, this post totally resonates with me. I love that you have such fond Canadian memories, and that you still cherish your time spent here. I’m all for anything maple, and pairing it with crispy lentils sounds divine. Love your photos from the trip – especially the parking sign madness that is Montreal ;)

  15. Reply


    October 3, 2015 at 12:39 PM

    There’s something so satisfying about crispy lentils. Speaking of Canada, a few months ago I was in Toronto and picked up an infused maple syrup – PURE chipotle and lemongrass infused. I think it will be delightful in this recipe! It’s so rainy and chilly today we all need some spice to warm us up from the inside!

  16. Reply


    October 5, 2015 at 5:29 AM

    These Quebec images are just beautiful. I have never tried roasted carrots but these look good! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Reply


    October 26, 2015 at 3:37 AM

    You captured some brilliant hues of Quebec. Vive le maple syrup I substitute it for a sweetener with almost everything. Happy feasting!

  18. Reply


    December 15, 2016 at 8:59 PM

    Love Quebec! Your photos are beautiful, and this recipe sounds so good.

  19. Reply

    Julie Breton

    May 10, 2017 at 10:38 PM

    Great post. I used to live right around the corner from Marché St-Ursule in your photo. Reminds me of being a student in Québec City. Can’t wait to try “la recette des carottes sucrées.” Merci!

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With Food + Love © 2018 | All photos + words belong to Sherrie Castellano -- they cannot be used or distributed without permission.