Until recently, you may have spent most of your cooking life not giving much thought to ingredients like kale, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi or carrots. Today, though, with our renewed enthusiasm for local produce and humble vegetables, carrots are no longer just an attractive garnish on the plate. John Besh’s new cookbook, Cooking From the Heart, features a recipe for carrot and chive salad—a simple slaw that gets its color and crunch from carrots. Here are some other examples of how carrots are being sauced, spiced and infused.

• Inventive small plates at Crossroads in Los Angeles include Spicy Moroccan Heirloom Carrots with chili, cumin, hearts on fire (micro greens) and Marcona almonds ($11).

• Imagine a whisper of carrot in your cocktails. At the recently opened Henry, A Liquor Bar in the Hudson hotel in NYC, the well-known U.K. mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana has brought a botanical, seasonal approach to the cocktail menu, creating specialties such as The Living Cocktail. It’s made with miso caramel, house-made carrot vinegar and Avion Reposado tequila. His cocktail menu description of the drink: “It’s alive! Constantly changing, and tasting unlike anything else. . . Microbes have been making our food taste better (and last longer) for many centuries. It’s time they worked harder for our drinks. Fresh, with an earthy bite.”

• At DeepWood Restaurant in Columbus, OH the vegetarian menu includes Carrot Risotto ($18), made with carrot-infused carnaroli (short-grain) rice, roasted carrot, wilted kale and black olives. You’ll find another vegetable-friendly recipe from executive chef Brian Pawlak at DeepWood.