Carrot tops combine with garlic, crushed red pepper, olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt to make a lovely Carrot Top Chimichurri sauce. This sauce is delicious with steak, seafood, on roasted veggies and more.
As a nation, we aren’t really in tune enough with food. Real food, that is — the kind that grows in the ground and comes to us in its purest form. We aren’t a nation of farmers and homesteaders anymore, and although pockets of those groups exist all over the country, there are so many people (of all ages) who can’t tell a sweet potato from a butternut squash.
Growing food — and knowing what fresh food looks like — used to be how families fed themselves. On our family homestead in the early 20th century, we had an orchard and growing fields and chickens and more. Baked goods were made from scratch and stored in the larder. Farming wasn’t just a job, it was a way of life.
For some, it still is.
It’s a foreign concept these days to imagine being the kind of self-sufficient that grows their own food and lives a deliberate life that doesn’t include working for someone else. People do it, but it’s uncommon, unusual, different.
That used to be the norm.
Of course, the truth is that if not for Bugs Bunny cartoons, I wouldn’t have known as a child that carrots grow with frilly greens poking above the ground. I wouldn’t have dreamed of one day having carrots like that and eating them like my favorite wascally wabbit. And I wouldn’t have come to wonder why we only eat the root part of the carrot and discard the greens.
It doesn’t have to be like that. We could more fully consume the food that’s being grown.
If you happen upon some carrot tops, don’t toss them!
The frilly greens on the tops of carrots are edible and delicious in a variety of dishes. From salads to sauces, carrot greens add a pleasant flavor that can be a touch bitter (like parsley) but is tasty nonetheless.
Combined with garlic, crushed red pepper, olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt, carrot tops also make a lovely chimichurri sauce. A food processor makes quick work of making this Carrot Top Chimichurri Sauce recipe.
I love the tangy, freshness of chimichurri sauce. Although it’s traditionally made with parsley, I love switching up the flavor by substituting other greens — like in my Basil Chimichurri, my Swiss Chard Chimichurri and in my Kale Chimichurri.
Once it’s swirled together, there are so many ways to use this sauce. Try it drizzled on flatbread pizza, on roasted cauliflower or spooned onto potatoes. It’s also delicious on steak, steak sandwiches and more.
This Carrot Top Chimichurri also makes a lovely substitute for cocktail sauce. Try serving it with steamed shrimp for dipping.
Carrot Top Chimichurri
- 1 cup carrot top leaves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the ingredients are evenly chopped.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.