Nothing motivates my daily cooking more than trying to find ways to use something before it goes to waste. I find a weird sense of satisfaction from cobbling together ingredients to make a meal. But damn if it isn’t close to impossible to find ways to use carrot tops. People go on and on about how they can be easily tossed into this or that but it tastes like rabbit food to me. It wasn’t until I started growing carrots myself (and therefore hated throwing the greens away that much more) that I became motivated to keep them out of the compost pile.
I recently tried the Carrot Top Pistou recipe from the Gjelina cookbook and it dawned on me – you just have to overwhelm their flavor with other ingredients. While traditional pistou is simply basil, garlic and olive oil, the Gjelina recipe included carrot tops and parsley in place of the basil along with garlic and oil and then added orange and lemon zest, pepitas, coriander seeds, Pecorino and balsamic vinegar. While I liked the recipe, I wanted to change a couple things and put my own spin on it.
I took the things I liked from the pistou recipe – the citrus zest and coriander seeds – and combined it with a traditional chimichurri. If you aren’t familiar, chimichurri is a raw Argentinian sauce typically made with parsley, oregano, garlic, oil and vinegar. I used carrot tops and cilantro in place of the parsley and oregano, orange and lemon juice in place of the vinegar and added the citrus zest and coriander seeds to build extra brightness and flavor.
Traditional chimichurri is served with steak but it is great on so many other things. Here are a handful of ideas:
So the next time you pick up a fresh bunch of carrots, don’t toss those carrot tops and give this recipe a try!