Often sliced and boiled to a near-mushy consistency, carrots haven’t always been the most desirable side dish at the family dinner table. But, with a little finesse, these subtly sweet root veggies can taste incredible. Need proof? Seek out these carrot-based dishes.

BBQ Carrots, Juniper & Ivy, San Diego

Barbecued carrots, as envisioned by celebrity chef Richard Blais, are anything but predictable at this lively restaurant. Blistered, locally grown carrots are lined up on the plate and accented with spicy jalapeno chimichurri and dots of sweet and sour apricot purée, then finished off with crushed peanuts for a little crunch.

Winter Carrot Salad, Alta Bistro, Whistler, B.C.

At this celebrated restaurant, chef Nick Cassettari has created a locally focused menu that illustrates perfectly what the Whistler food scene has to offer. His winter carrot salad—comprised of smoked carrots, aged beets and house-grown arugula topped with robust sunflower seed dukkah and a yogurt, thyme and pinot gris sorbet—is unforgettable.

Carrot Cake Macarons, Macaron Parlour, New York

There is something so satisfying about digging into a massive, icing-heavy piece of carrot cake, but similar flavours in smaller packages can be just as gratifying. This popular patisserie compacts carrots and classic carrot-cake spices into an orange-hued macaron that is filled with tangy cream-cheese icing.

Zanahorias, Native Tongues Taqueria, Calgary

Winter is a time to let the root vegetables shine—and that’s exactly what happens at this popular taqueria. Native Tongues’ combination of beautifully charred, agave-butter-glazed baby carrots, chilies, cilantro, crema and crumbled queso fresco is a perfect example of how a few simple ingredients can yield satiating results.

18 Carrot Dogs, Planta, Toronto

This self-proclaimed “plant-based,” restaurant offers a refined dining experience that will satisfy even the most hardcore carnivores. The kitchen’s playful spin on the hot dog sees a fresh carrot smoked and finished on a plancha grill nestled in a house-baked bun with a slathering of mustard and topped with sauerkraut and house pickles.