There has been a lot of debate about whether or not carrot tops (the leafy tops) are poisonous. There is nothing to suggest that they are and people eat them regularly. In fact, in Europe carrot tops are sold as a market vegetable. So stop throwing them out and start eating your carrot tops!
Everyone acknowledges that carrots are a great source of vitamin C but did you know the tops contain 6 times the vitamin C of the root and are a great source of potassium and calcium. The tops of the carrots are loaded with potassium which can make them bitter so they have limited use in food but they can be a healthy addition to your mealtimes.
Only eat carrot tops that you are certain have not been treated with pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
In addition to using the fresh carrot tops you can also freeze them or make a powder by dehydrating them. Give the powder an extra antioxidant boost by adding powdered, dried blueberries. You can add the powder to soups or stews for a bit of extra nutrition and carroty goodness.
These carrot tops are headed for the freezer.
These are being dehydrated to make carrot top powder.
If adding the carrot tops to salads, stews or soups isn’t quite enough here are a few of recipes to try:
This recipe is perfect for one and you can simply double it to make soup for two.
Carrot Top and Potato Soup
1 pint vegetable stock
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bunch green carrot tops, chopped
1 star anise
1/2 potato, peeled and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a medium saucepan.
Add the onion, garlic, carrot tops, star anise, and potato.
Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer for 8 – 10 minutes; until potato is tender.
Remove the star anise and blend the remaining ingredients until smooth.
Top with Dijon mustard if desired.
You can change up this recipe by using almonds or hazelnuts or even a mix of all three nuts!
Carrot Green, Parsley & Walnut Pesto for Pasta
1/8 cup organic carrot leaves, chopped
1/8 cup organic parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh-grated parmesan cheese
1 generous pinch sea salt.
Toast the nuts at 325ºF for a few minutes.
In a food processor, puree the nuts, carrot leaves, parsley leaves, lemon juice and garlic.
Pour in cheese, salt, and olive oil (starting with 1/4 cup).
Blend and add drizzles of additional olive oil if the pesto is too thick.
Serve over hot pasta.
This soup is comforting and delicious. Try it with a grilled cheese sandwich as a change from tomato soup.
Carrot Soup with Carrot Top Pesto
3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 1/4 pounds carrots with tops on
4 cups chicken broth/stock
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon chopped toasted walnuts
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium pot with a lid, over medium heat.
Add onion and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook until softened (about 8 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Remove carrot tops from carrots, chop roughly, and set aside.
Roughly chop carrots and add to pot.
Stir in broth and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer, cover leaving lid slightly ajar.
Cook until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, mince garlic in a food processor, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Add 1 cup carrot tops, the walnuts, 2 1/2 tbsp. oil, and 1/4 tsp. salt and blend.
Purée soup in a blender until it’s very smooth. Work in batches, about 1 minute per batch.
Ladle into bowls and swirl in carrot top pesto.