So, I want to know who decided we should throw out carrot tops instead of eating these delicious greens?
I know the thought of eating carrot tops seems strange.
Can you do that? Are you sure?
It seems as though much of what we consider edible and non-edible when it comes to vegetables has more to do with what holds up during shipping.
There are plenty of vegetable parts that we used to eat, but we’ve stopped eating because it simply doesn’t have the shelf-life to look appealing once it gets to the store.
And it goes way beyond carrot tops. I’ve written an entire article about all of the veggie parts that you could be eating instead of throwing them away.
But for right now, we’re going to focus on carrot tops. Because it’s one thing to know you can eat something and another to know what the heck you can make with it.
These versatile greens can be used to create any number of tasty dishes.
So, save your carrot tops from the compost heap, and make something delicious instead. They taste quite good – a mix of carrot (I know, shocking.) and parsley.
You can easily substitute carrot tops for parsley in any dish. And carrot tops make an equally good cilantro replacement for those that don’t ‘do’ cilantro.
But if you’re looking for ideas beyond herbal replacements, I’ve got you covered with seven delicious ways to eat carrot tops.
Preparing Carrot Tops
It’s important to give the carrot tops a thorough washing in a sink full of cold water. Swish them around a bit and then let them float for a few moments so dirt and debris can settle at the bottom and to remove any six-legged stowaways.
Spin your clean carrot tops in a salad spinner to remove as much water as possible. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I adore my Zyliss Easy Spin Salad Spinner.
Pick off or trim any spots that are wilted or starting to brown.
1. Carrot Greens Pesto
We’ve all had basil pesto, and most of us have had spinach pesto too. Then there’s stinging nettle pesto and even pepita pesto. Why not carrot top pesto?
I used my usual pesto recipe, only instead of basil, I did half and half of spinach and carrot tops. The result was a gorgeous vibrant green with all the classic pesto flavors.
Pesto is one of my favorite ‘fancy’ last-minute meals. It takes moments to throw together and always seems much more elegant than the sum of its parts. And this carrot top version is no different.
As with any pesto recipe, feel free to wing it. Do you like more garlic? (I knew I liked you.) Then throw in more garlic. Not enough olive oil? (Is too much olive oil even a thing?) You go right ahead and drizzle in a few more tablespoons.
- 1 cup of washed and spun carrot tops
- 1 cup of spinach leaves
- 2 cloves of garlic
- ¼ cup of pine nuts or cashews
- ½ cup – 2/3 cup olive oil
- ½ cup of parmesan cheese
- Combine the carrot tops, spinach, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely minced. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and continue to mix until smooth. Pulse in the parmesan cheese.
- For best flavor, let the pesto rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
This carrot top pesto was delightful spread on thick, toasted slices of bread. I ate way too much of it all by myself. You should too.
2. Carrot Top Tabbouleh
Oh man, I haven’t made tabbouleh in years. But after trying Abra’s carrot top version, it’s definitely going to be a mainstay for those warm summer days when I don’t want to heat up the kitchen.
Using carrot tops instead of parsley, this tabbouleh remains true to the classic flavors of this Middle Eastern dish.
Going gluten-free? Sub the bulger wheat with quinoa. Or go keto and use riced cauliflower instead. (Don’t forget to eat those cauliflower leaves.)
A note: The recipe mistakenly calls for ¼ cup of olive oil twice. Only one ¼ cup of olive oil is needed.
And use this trick to make sure your cucumber tastes fresh and sweet.
It only takes 30 seconds to ensure you never eat another bitter cucumber again.
Slice the tip of the cucumber off, then rub the end on the part of the cucumber you just sliced for 30 seconds. You may see a white-green foam begin to form. This draws out the bitter-tasting compound contained in cucumbers, leaving you with a perfect tasting cuke. Rinse or wipe off the cucumber.
3. Carrot Top Smoothies
Look, as a parent, I’m not above sneaking vegetables into my children’s smoothies. For years I made them ‘monster smoothies,’ so named because they were green. Green from all the spinach, I dumped into the blender while their backs were turned.
I wasn’t about to tell them breakfast was good for them, not when they were asking for seconds.
Carrot tops are a great way to sneak in a little extra fiber and vegetables in your diet. Kid or not. So, when you’re making your breakfast smoothie, don’t forget to add a big handful of carrot tops.
4. Carrot Top Salad Greens
If you want to use up those carrot greens without cooking, this is an easy way to do it. Just add them to a salad as you would any leafy green.
If you’re going to put carrot tops in your salad, you may wish to remove longer portions of the stem as it can be a little tough. Otherwise, toss the tops in with the rest of your salad and enjoy.
5. Carrot Top Chimichurri Sauce
Chimichurri, sometimes known as Argentinian Pesto, is a staple at any Argentinian barbecue. This zesty sauce is always on hand for basting meat while grilling, or spooning over the top of the finished product.
It’s so easy to make and takes even the most boring meat from meh to marvelous.
Whip up a batch and take your grilling game up a notch.
This carrot top chimichurri from Love & Lemons subs out the parsley and adds in carrot tops.
6. Carrot Fritters with Carrot Greens
Oh man, I love fritters, especially veggie fritters. There’s something about shredded veggies smashed and fried into crispy patties that has me reaching for seconds every time. And these carrot fritters do not disappoint.
Mel, over at A Virtual Vegan, hit this one out of the park using the carrots and their tops in the same recipe. These little guys are packed with flavor and so easy to make.
If you’re going to fry them, I heartily recommend using peanut oil for an extra crisp outside. Make up some garlic-honey mustard dressing to dip the fritters in, and you’re all set.
7. Carrot Top Hummus
Hummus seems to be one of those dishes that just begs for you to put stuff in it. Garlic, roasted red peppers, olives, you name it, and it’s probably great in hummus. Naturally, this makes hummus a great candidate for adding a few handfuls of finely chopped carrot tops too.
This recipe was perfect as is. I didn’t tweak it at all, and I’ll be making it again in the future. Liz, of I Heart Vegetables suggests zapping your chickpeas for 30 seconds before pulsing them, as they’re easier to blend that way. If like me, you don’t own a microwave, a quick soak in hot water will warm the chickpeas enough to make them blend easily.
It’s easy to eat your veggies, all your veggies.
Now that you know what to do with those carrot tops, maybe you need some ideas for the carrots! How about pro-biotic fermented carrots?