Twice now I’ve gone to the farmers’ market and they’ve asked if I want them to remove the greens from the root vegetables I’m about to purchase. “No,” (in a kind of huh?/duh! but more polite tone of voice) I’ve replied. Who would give up perfectly gorgeous turnip, radish, or carrot greens?
But the stand workers must be asking for a reason—either they want them for compost or they’ve been asked by enough people that they started offering.
I guess the latter wouldn’t be that crazy, especially in a city, where people have 1 ft x 2 ft counter tops and refrigerators under 10 cu. ft that you still have to defrost. But I love greens (as you’re well aware), and I will find the space and a use for those tops, whatever root vegetable they’re attached to.
Until this weekend, I’d only used carrot tops once—for making stock—and seen them once—in the gumbo z’herbes recipe I made at Easter. (I didn’t have any, so I didn’t use any.) But faced with a ginormous bouquet of feathery carrot greens from a beautiful bunch of local carrots, I knew I had to do something.
First I made stock for later. Then I improvised a little something for brunch with a pal visiting from Boston. It was morning; we were hungry; and I had a fridge full of possibilities. As I threw things in my trusty cast iron skillet, I asked C if she minded being a test case, and no surprise, she was game.
Here’s the play-by-play: I sautéed some onion and garlic in a little olive oil, tossed in the chopped carrot greens, and added a couple scoops of diced tomato from a can. You’ll want to remove the thicker stems—they get a little woody.
After the greens cooked for a few minutes. I cracked a few eggs over the mixture and scrambled it all together. At the last minute, I threw in a little fresh cilantro, salt, and pepper. We ate it with toast and veggie sausage.
It was a true go-with-what-you’ve-got-moment that came out surprisingly well. C doesn’t cook and was way more impressed than necessary that I didn’t use a recipe. But I was pretty pleased myself—mostly that carrot greens are good. The flavor is a bit unusual: a little bitter, but with a hint of sweetness and carrot essence.
Not only are the carrot greens tasty, they’re good for you: packed with potassium, vitamin K, and cancer-fighting chlorophyll. So when they guy at the market asks, say, “No, I’ll take them.” These carrot tops won’t leave you feeling icky.
Carrot Top Scramble
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 med onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
carrot greens, chopped
1 cup canned diced tomato (or fresh)
4 eggs (I used two whole eggs and two egg whites)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1) Sautée onion in a little olive oil for 2 – 3 minutes; add garlic and continue to cook for another minute or so.
2) Toss in chopped carrot greens. Stir and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until they begin to wilt.
3) Add diced tomato and simmer covered 3 minutes.
4) Crack eggs into mixture and scramble until well combined.
5) Top with cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6) Serve with toast and veggie sausage. Marvel at how resourceful you are.
Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price per Serving
115 calories, 6g fat, $.48
1 tbsp olive oil: 120 calories, 14g fat, $.08
1/3 med onion: 13.3 calories, 0g fat, $.17
3 cloves garlic: 12.6 calories, 0g fat, $.04
4 cups carrot greens: 88 calories, 0g fat, $.33
1 cup canned diced tomato: 50 calories, 0g fat, $43
4 eggs (2 whole + 2 egg whites): 174 calories, 10g fat, $.75
2 tbsp fresh cilantro: 2.75 calories, 0g fat, $.10
salt and pepper: negligible calories and fat, $.02
TOTAL: 460 calories, 24g fat, $1.92
PER SERVING (totals/4): 115 calories, 6g fat, $.48