Recipes / Everyday Eats & Sweets

Carrot Top Salsa

Carrot top salsa

I have a love/hate with carrot tops.

The feathery greens — and I’m talking the good stuff from homegrown carrots or farmers’ market carrots, not the sad, wilty greens you sometimes find attached to carrots in supermarkets — are packed with potassium and other vitamins and minerals, more than what you’ll find in the roots themselves. (The same goes for beets, turnips and radishes, whose greens are more nutritious than the roots.)

I find the greens to be uniquely palatable (and perhaps an acquired taste) — earthy and just a bit bitter, like their crunchy counterparts. But harvesting just one or two carrots from my garden means I’m often left with a sink full of carrot tops that I struggle to use up before my next harvest — in soups, soup stock, salads, pesto, omelets.

Carrot tops in the garden

The herbal flavor and chewy texture of carrot tops means a little goes a long way, so what happens when I pull up this biggie along with its fabulous head of hair?

Freshly harvested carrot with greens

I make carrot top salsa!

This sauce is a riff on my chimichurri recipe, and it’s every bit as amazing as the Argentinian version. I use the carrot top salsa on anything I would typically slather chimichurri on, from chicken and steak to potatoes and bread. A mini ramekin of carrot top salsa served with a crusty baguette makes an excellent starter or side. With summer here, it’s also crazy good when smeared on grilled corn (if not a bit messy, but who cares!). On the day that I made this, after I went to bed, my husband actually sneaked a jar for a midnight snack and had the salsa with chips!

Carrot top salsa is the perfect way to use up an excess of carrot tops, as you’ll need the greens from a couple of carrots just to make two cups’ worth of sauce. Since they tend to be a tad chewy as far as greens go, I prefer to chop them up by hand to get a very fine and uniform texture.

Fresh carrot greens

I also used a mix of Greek oregano and wild zaatar here, but you can use all oregano or try your own variation of complementary herbs.

Carrot Top Salsa

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

2 cups minced carrot tops
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons minced oregano
2 tablespoons minced jalapeño pepper
1 to 1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice and zest from 1 lemon

Method

Got everything all minced and zested and ready to go?

All minced and zested and ready to go

Good — dump it all into a bowl with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice, and stir to combine.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl

Let the salsa sit at room temperature overnight while the flavors meld together. Like chimichurri, the sauce gets better with age, and you’ll know it’s good when the carrot tops have turned a deep, muted shade of army green.

Decant into jars and refrigerate. The sauce should last at least two weeks chilled, but is best served at room temperature.

Carrot top chimichurri

Linda Ly About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »

48 Comments

  • Avatar
    S Brownie
    July 1, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    I had the pleasure of trying this delicious salsa over the weekend, and when I went in for a second chip and dip, the salsa was practically gone! It was fresh tasting and a nice compliment to the gluten-free chips we were snacking on! 🙂

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Gin Wallace
    June 30, 2013 at 7:14 am

    Great timing! Just yesterday I was contemplating the fate of the carrot tops from my garden. I’ve never eaten the tops before but now I am excited to try your recipe. Loving your blog, keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      July 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      Thank you! (Also try carrot tops in soup, which is how I like to eat it cooked… chopped up finely and added to a tasty broth with potatoes and beans.)

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Souda
    June 27, 2013 at 6:28 am

    Wow! How do you come up with these recipes? I truly admire your capability to find a use out of anything and everything. Nothing goes to waste.

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      June 27, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      Thank you! I love to experiment in the kitchen. My husband makes a great guinea pig. 😉

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Janely
        September 10, 2014 at 8:02 pm

        Do you think this recipe could be canned–I have a gargantuan amount of carrot greens and would hate to see them all go to waste.

        Reply
        • Linda Ly
          Linda Ly
          September 11, 2014 at 12:01 am

          I would caution against canning this. The amount of acidity in the recipe is uncertain and you also risk rancidity with all that olive oil. However, you can freeze it.

          Reply
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