Today we’ll be discussing a surprisingly taboo topic: carrot top greens.
Every time I bring up the idea of using carrot top greens in a recipe, I get one of two typical responses: “That stuff’s edible?” or “Ew, that sounds disgusting”. Sigh.
I’m not entirely sure when removing beautiful, nutritious greens and leaves from vegetables became a commonplace activity… Carrot top greens are not only edible, but they are absolutely delicious (they pack a nutritional punch as well!) Their taste is similar to baby spinach and the texture a lot like flat leaf parsley. Packed with vital nutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, iron, and potassium, carrot top greens are not only good but have everything you need to help you get big and strong (I just flexed my bicep when I wrote that). Now we know why Bugs Bunny was such a string bean.
Speaking of being good for you, a quick PSA: there are a lot of claims out there on the interwebs by some folks who preach that carrot top greens are toxic. These claims are highly unsubstantiated, and no research has been able to validate this statement to even the smallest degree. Even the World Carrot Museum (did you know there was an international carrot museum?) encourages the devouring of carrot top greens. These unsubstantiated claims are thought to have arisen during the old days when carrots were picked from the wild where they grew side by side with hemlock, a highly poisonous leafy plant whose leaves look almost identical to those of carrots. These days, I doubt your local grocery store or farmer’s market will be selling hemlock anytime, so, thankfully, none of us have to worry about this confusion.
My favorite way to eat carrot top greens is in a salad. While alone and laughing for no reason. Pureeing the greens into a pesto or a sauce is common and quite delicious, but doing so rids them of their wonderful texture. In this recipe, I combined the greens with chickpeas, shaved radishes, cashews, and dried plums for just a hint of sweetness. I then pureed the carrots and made them into a vinaigrette spiced with a touch of cumin, a gentle reminder of my Mediterranean roots (no pun intended).