Don't toss those tops! Carrot greens are just as edible as carrots themselves, and they're delicious in this tangy chimichurri sauce, pesto, and more.
Today, we’re making chimichurri out of carrot greens! I don’t know who ever spread the idea that vibrant carrot tops should be tossed. They’re edible and delicious, so let’s start using them!
This carrot tops recipe comes with a cute little backstory. A few years ago, Jack and I spent some time in Argentina, where I fell in love with chimichurri sauce. Upon returning home, I couldn’t find a recipe that tasted just like the bright, smoky chimichurri we had there. But recently, we learned that one of our friends in Austin is Argentinian! He kindly called his mother for her chimichurri recipe, and it was, of course, just right.
This recipe is a slight spin on hers. I used carrot greens instead of the traditional parsley, and I added less water and oil to make a thicker, dip-able sauce. It’s not at all authentic, but it’s delicious nonetheless.
How to Use Carrot Greens
Before we get to the sauce, let’s talk carrot tops! They have a lightly sweet, earthy flavor that’s like a cross between carrots and parsley, and they’re delicious raw or cooked. This recipe uses most of the tops from one small bunch of carrots, or half the tops from a large bunch. That means you’ll have leftovers! Aside from this chimichurri sauce, here are a few of my favorite ways to use carrot greens:
- Pulse them into carrot top pesto in a food processor. Make a nut-free pesto by swapping sunflower seeds or pepitas for pine nuts!
- Dice them and toss them into a salad.
- Sprinkle them over roasted veggies like carrots, butternut squash, or cauliflower. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a little Parmesan cheese to take this over the top!
- Use them to garnish soups like my Many-Veggie Soup, Carrot Ginger Soup, or Butternut Squash Soup.
- Mince them and sprinkle them over a grain bowl, like the Carrot Ginger Grain Bowl on page 93 of The Love and Lemons Cookbook.
- Stir them into the Stem and Scrap Tzatziki on page 302 of Love and Lemons Every Day.
- Simmer any extras into vegetable stock! Find my Scrap Stock Recipe on page 106 of Love and Lemons Every Day.
Carrot Greens Tips
Ready to cook? Here are my best tips for working with carrot greens in the kitchen:
- Clip them off right away. In order to keep the carrot leaves (and the carrots!) fresh, you need to store them separately. As soon as you get a bunch of carrots with bright green tops, clip off the greens. Wrap them up and store them in the crisper drawer in your fridge until you’re ready to use them, or freeze them to make vegetable stock.
- Wash and dry them well. It’s no secret that carrots grow in dirt, so wash the leaves well! You’ll also want to dry them with a kitchen towel or salad spinner before chopping them – if they’re too wet, they’ll clump together and be soggy.
- Get rid of the tough stems, unless you’re making stock. Carrot greens’ thick stems can add delicious flavor to vegetable stock, but they’re too tough to use in salads, bowls, or sauces like this chimichurri. I like to use the tender leaves in carrot top recipes right away and freeze the stems to simmer into stock later on.
Chimichurri with Carrot Tops Recipe
This chimichurri sauce is so simple to make! First, wash your greens well, and chop them as finely as you can. Then, mix them with spices, olive oil, and white wine vinegar. That’s it! I love to serve this sauce with roasted carrots as a starter or side dish, but it’s also fantastic with grilled veggies, crusty bread, or any cooked protein.
If this chimichurri is too oily or vinegary for you, dilute it with 1/4-1/2 cup of lukewarm water. Mix well, and spoon it over whatever you’re eating, rather than serving it as a dip.
Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the sauce will keep for up to 4 days. It will thicken in the fridge, so allow it to come to room temperature before serving!
More Favorite “Scrap” Recipes
If you love this carrot tops recipe, try experimenting with other common veggie scraps! Here are a few recipes to get you started:
- Broccoli Rice
- Cauliflower Rice
- Beet Salad with Pistachio Beet Green Gremolata, page 127 of Love and Lemons Every Day
- Leek and Radish Green Tart, page 181 of Love and Lemons Every Day
Carrot Greens Chimichurri
- 1 cup finely chopped carrot greens
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- In a small bowl, combine the carrot greens, oregano, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir in the vinegar and olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings.