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.
I followed the recipe exactly and this is really good! Super easy too, especially if you don’t have a bunch of fresh ingredients on hand.
Hi Karen, so glad you loved it!
Just for your information, pine nuts are the seeds of different pine trees, not nuts.
I am going shopping for carrots with tops tomorrow so I can make this. I have added carrot tops to pesto when I ran out of basil, but never made chimichurri. I didn’t have a garden this year because I had two surgeries, but next year I will try all these suggestions! Thanks.
I had a bunch of carrot greens to use up and this was perfect! I never thought to use it for chimichurri but it tastes amazing. I love that you also put a few other uses at top because it inspired me for the rest.
I’m so glad you loved it!
I love this recipe! I came across it not wanting to waste the carrot top greens and wondering what i could use them for.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
I was just about to throw out my carrot tops and I remembered seeing someone on TV do something with them. I did a search and found your recipe. I have used a couple recipes from love and lemons and have really liked them. This is really delicious. I have some chicken marinating. So bright and fresh. I love making sauces, salad dressings etc. Such a huge difference from buying pre-made products.
I’m so glad you found a use for your carrot tops!
This was delicious! I substituted red wine vinegar because it was all I had on hand and added an extra garlic clove because we love garlic and it still came out incredible. Our kids devoured it. Definitely making again. Thank you for this delicious recipe!
Making this for Thanksgiving. I don’t have white wine vinegar right now, but I saw the comment that said lemon juice worked as a sub. Not sure if I’ll let my husband steal it for use on the turkey or serve alongside the cheeses to dip the bread in. Loving that its even an option either way. Always wondered why my grocer sold the greens on the carrots. So glad to find out they have a cool use that people seem to love. I hope it’s a hit we can keep coming back to since it’s ridiculously easy. Thanks!
Who knew carrot greens would be such a goldmine? We marinated some chicken in some of the chimichurri and then spooned more chimichurri over it after it was broiled and it was absolutely delicious. I had a huuuuuge amount of carrot greens so I made a big batch and have been putting it on everything–rice, noodles, straight-up just sneaking a spoonful by itself–and today I baked a loaf of bread and have been enjoying it with that. YUM!
I’m so glad you loved it!
Is it possible to freeze this sauce? I have a ton of carrot tops and trying to save as much as possible! I’d love to make and freeze this for over the winter months 🙂
you can! Just let it thaw at room temp when you’re ready to use it and the oil will become liquid again.
WOW! I just tasted this. From the time I was a kid, I have been curious about eating carrot greens. THANK YOU for this recipe! Here are my tweaks: I used onion instead of garlic; about one quarter of a sweet onion–I pulverized this with the olive oil and salt in my Vita-mix. I used fresh oregano since I have it growing. Lemon juice instead of white wine vinegar. Left out the hot pepper/paprika…I am avoiding nightshades. AMAZING! I now have the rest of my life to enjoy this. And I will be growing carrots from this time forward.
Just echoing all the other comments, this is AMAZING! Loving it on a dry spice rubbed chicken thighs and planning to make many more uses out of it! Thanks for sharing <3
Hi Lauren, I’m so glad you loved it!
Does the taste become bitter or otherwise not as fresh if the sauce is made the day before? Does it stay green in that case? Thanks! Looking forward to trying this…
Hi Elis, it should be just fine on day 2 (maybe slightly less green).
This is so yummy! I’m grateful for a way to use the carrot greens from our garden. Thank you!
Amazing! Great use of carrot greens. Just the right blend of spices.
Hi Amanda, I’m glad you enjoyed it!
I made half of the recipe as I didn’t have enough of the carrot greens. I added a shake of coriander and some chives and this is sooo yummy !! Will be adding it to salads and on crackers with cheese as an appetizer. Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe !!
This was amazing! My husband and I grew a ton of carrots and when we picked them I had this feeling that the greens had to be good for something because they smell so lovely. The first thing that came up was your recipe and we had it with steak and salad and it was absolutely fabulous. Our friends said it was one of the best meals they had and that this chimichurri sauce was the best. Thank you!
It was delicious! I added a bit of dried basil, and used smoked sweet paprika instead.
This recipe is incredible and so easy to whip up right after bringing home a bunch of carrots. I didn’t have quite the full amount of carrot greens so I added cilantro and didn’t have white wine vinegar so used a mix of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. I think next time I would use a bit less of the liquids, but I’ve been using it more as a spread than a dip. I used it a few different ways, but my favourite was on a bagel with an egg and cream cheese
I made this a couple of times now and the family love it. Really tasty with veggies to dip or with nachos.
I made a second batch of this the instant I tasted the first. However I used a little less oil and substituted lemon juice for vinegar. TO DIE FOR.