Summer is almost here and you know what that means! Hot days, swimming, and throwing hamburger patties on the grill! This also means piling on a heap of hot, greasy French fries alongside your beef or veggie burger. Don't get me wrong - French fries are one of my favorite splurge foods. However, I am always trying to find healthy side dish swaps to take the place of less healthy side dishes - like fries! I have the perfect side dish swap for you - Air Fryer Carrots with an Herbed Greek Yogurt Dip!
Let me tell you now - once you try these air fried carrots, you may never go back to Greaseville. When they come out of the air fryer, they are soft, yet crisp. They get this delicious brown caramelization that is reminiscent of your favorite fries. I also make a tangy herbed Greek yogurt dip that will leave your taste buds begging for more. The best part - this recipe has significantly more nutritional value and less fat than greasy fries. So, what are you waiting for? With so few ingredients and a time-saving super hack, you could enjoy these awesome air fryer carrot fries today!
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Air Fryer Carrot Fries - Who Knew?!
I have always loved to roast carrots in the oven (as you can see in my Autumn Roasted Vegetables and Roasted Vegetable Salad with Balsamic Reduction recipes). When I got my air fryer, I was super excited about experimenting with air frying different vegetables. I thought it would be a good replacement for roasting but I had NO IDEA how much easier my life would be!
One night, I was grilling hamburgers and trying to decide on a side dish to serve with them. I considered tossing a pile of frozen French fries in the oven. Then, I remembered that I would need to preheat the oven and cook them for at least 20 minutes (actually, even longer because my family likes them extra crispy!). I only had about 20 minutes before dinner would be ready and NO ONE likes a cold burger!
Then, I remembered that I had purchased a gargantuan bag of pre-cut carrot sticks for my six-year-old. Now, the following is a slightly off-topic anecdote, but there is a reason I am telling this story. This night was a game-changer.
If you have kids, you can probably relate to this. My sweet, yet fickle child BEGGED me to get carrot sticks for his lunchbox. Surprised and very pleased, I picked up a HUGE bag of carrot sticks during my next grocery trip. I gleefully packed carrots in his lunch, silently (and foolishly) patting myself on the back for raising a child who loves vegetables.
Lo and behold - for two days, he returned home from school having eaten everything in his lunch EXCEPT his carrots.
Pre-Cut Carrot Sticks: A Time-Saving Super Hack
The question: What do you do with a large bag of pre-cut carrot sticks?
The answer: Use them to make an awesomely healthy plate of air fryer carrot fries!
So, there I was, with this enormous bag of carrot sticks and a child who said they are "too crunchy." Smh
Fast forward a few days later to burger night. The idea hit me like a bolt of lightning! Why not make air fryer carrots?! Maybe they will take on an "air fryer carrot fries" vibe.
It was perfect - the carrot sticks were all the same size, so I knew they would cook evenly. I tossed about a pound of them in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then, I dumped the mixture in the air fryer and air fried them for 20 minutes.
OH. MY. GOODNESS.
In my 29 (HA, just kidding) years, I have not had such a satisfying French fry replacement. These air fryer carrots are a LIFE CHANGER. This recipe yields carrot fries that are healthy, filling, and fun to eat. The Greek yogurt dipping sauce on the side takes them to the next level.
Let's Talk About Air Fryers
So, what exactly IS an air fryer? An air fryer is basically a counter-top convection oven. Air fryers are built to circulate hot air around your food, which results in a more crispy, "fried" texture - without the added oil!
Like in this recipe, you may have to add a little olive oil to get the texture you want, but you are definitely not submerging the food into hot oil, like you would in a deep fat fryer. Sometimes, you don't have to add ANY oil, like in my recipe for Air Fryer Chicken Wings. You don't have to add any oil to these wings and yet, when they come out of the air fryer, they are the CRISPIEST wings you could ever imagine!
My mom has a combination conventional/convection oven in her kitchen. So, I have experience cooking with a full size convection oven and an air fryer. Both are great to use, but they yield some pretty different results.
The air fryer is different from a full size convection oven for a few reasons:
- The air fryer has a smaller space in which to circulate air, which means the "frying" process happens more quickly and effectively.
- Because the cooking space within an air fryer is smaller, it is much easier to control the internal temperature.
- I love the fact that my air fryer comes with an easily removable basket and a pause button. During the cooking process, you can pause the fryer at any time, pull the basket out, and shake the contents to promote more even cooking. This feature also allows for you to easily keep an eye on your food so you don't overcook it. Super easy and convenient!
I use a Ninja Air Fryer. I don't have a whole lot of counter space, so having a smaller air fryer is perfect for myself and my family. It is easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to store. A win-win-win!
The Perfect Dipping Sauce
Arguably, the most fun part about eating fries is dipping them into something yummy! Whether you like to dip your fries into a fancy aioli or simple ketchup, dip is a must for most.
I didn't want to miss an opportunity to develop the perfect dipping sauce for my air fryer carrot fries. Since the fries are already more nutritious (using carrots instead of potatoes, and air frying instead of deep frying), a healthier dip seemed the best way to go.
Enter Herbed Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce.
This dipping sauce reminds me of ranch dressing. It is creamy, it is tangy, and it is much better for you (and tastier!) than anything mayonnaise-based. It is truly the perfect dipping sauce for this awesomely healthy French fry swap. An added bonus: all you have to do is mix some ingredients together and voila! Easy-peasy!
Your Ideal Summer Menu:
If you are looking for some fun summer dinner ideas, look no further! Below is one of my favorite summer "grilling in the sun" menus:
- Hamburgers on the grill
- Air Fryer Carrots with Herbed Greek Yogurt Dip (recipe below)
- Stone Fruit Salad with Goat Cheese and Mint
- A Refreshing Hot Honey Mojito Mocktail to wash it all down!
Greetings, summer! We have missed your fun and warmth! 🙂
All of my posts contain my recommendations for essential tools. I have researched these tools. Many of them are already in my kitchen. The ones that are not come highly rated. I do the research so you don’t have to and I only recommend high-quality tools.
If you are just starting to furnish your kitchen with tools or if you are looking to expand your kitchen toolkit, be sure to reference Expert Guide: Equip Your Kitchen for Less Than $200. This guide contains links to all of the equipment items I recommend for a basic kitchen set up.
My essential tools when making this recipe include the following:
Air Fryer Carrots With An Herbed Greek Yogurt Dip
For the Air Fryer Carrots
- 1 lb. carrots Cut into carrot sticks (if you use baby carrots, slice them in half). Time-saving Super Hack: Use pre-cut carrot sticks!
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp. salt
For the Herbed Greek Yogurt Dip
- 1 cup Greek yogurt I use Fage Nonfat Greet Yogurt
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 tbsp. dried parsley
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- ½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
For the Air Fryer Carrots
- In a large mixing bowl, toss carrots with olive oil and salt until well coated.
- Place carrots into air fryer basket and air fry at 390°F for 15-20 minutes, pausing to toss the carrots in the basket halfway through.
For the Herbed Greek Yogurt Dip
- While the carrots are air frying, make the Herbed Greek Yogurt Dip.
- In a small bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, dried parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, sugar, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Serve air fried carrots hot from the air fryer with the dipping sauce on the side. Enjoy!
I do love using my arifryer to roast potatoes and sweet potatoes. Carrots are such a great idea. I'll have to give them a try.
Thanks, Judee! Let me know what you think if you give them a try. 🙂