Contrary to popular belief, green carrot tops are indeed edible. I’ve long held onto the notion that carrot tops were poisonous and tossed these delicious and versatile greens for years. Who knew doing so was such a waste?! Here are three easy and completely brilliant ways to get the most out of your carrot tops, so you can both reduce food waste and introduce a unique green leaf vegetable to your diet. Enjoy!
Are carrot tops poisonous? The short answer: no. The longer answer takes into consideration the alkaloids inherent in carrot greens (alkaloids are considered toxic). The truth is, all leafy green vegetables contain alkaloids to a certain degree, and the only way to avoid overdosing on any one particular type of alkaloid is to rotate your greens. The takeaway: don’t eat carrot greens every day, just as you shouldn’t eat any one green – spinach, kale, and collard greens, among others – each and every day, especially if you consume a lot of plants (which you totally should, by the way).
With that said, carrot greens are a resourceful addition to your diet. They have a slightly bitter taste, firm texture, and boast quite the versatility in the kitchen.
These three recipes use carrot tops in unique ways that will satisfy your palate and your waste-minimizing conscience. Enjoy!
3 Carrot Top Recipes
1. Carrot Top Pesto
- Carrot tops from three pounds of carrots
- 1 garlic clove
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- ½ cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, pulse the garlic and pine nuts until a coarse paste forms. Add in basil, carrot tops, and parmesan. Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse purée. Add in the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pulse until combined. Enjoy the pesto with pasta, in a sandwich, or as a dip.
2. Warm Carrot Top Salad
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup chopped carrot greens
- Juice of one lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and cumin. Stir and let cook for one minute to release the cumin’s aromas. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes, or until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add in the garlic and chickpeas and stir while cooking. After two to three minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat and fold in the carrot greens, lemon, and salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy.
3. Carrot Top Green Juice
- 4 carrots (with green tops)
- 1 apple
- 1 cucumber
Push the all the ingredients through the juicer chute in the order listed. Enjoy as your morning green juices, thanks to the carrot greens!