How to Cook and Eat Carrot Tops/Greens/Leaves – Easy Recipe
March 21, 2020  Print
Do you ever buy carrots that have the carrot tops still attached? Do you ever get the organic carrots from Misfits Market and wonder what to do with the extra carrot greens or carrot leaves? That’s exactly what led me to experiment with the tops/greens/leaves and come up with this recipe. This recipe is not a Chinese recipe that was passed down to me from my relatives. Instead, I just experimented and came up with it! Please let me know what you think in the comments if you try it for yourself.
The first time I served this to my husband was shortly after our first Misfits Market package. He tasted it and asked me, “what the heck is this?” He had never tried carrot leaves before. Needless to say, he liked it. Now, it’s a regular side dish in our meals whenever a shipment of carrots arrives with their tops attached.
The recipe basically involves blanching the carrot leaves and mixing them with a simple sauce. The leaves have a slightly bitter and sweet taste. The sauce includes some sugar, which help reduce the bitterness and enhance the already subtly sweet flavor of the carrot leaves. The sauce also includes roasted sesame oil, which adds a nice aroma (both smell and taste). The resulting carrot tops/greens/leaves are sweet, aromatic, and a delight to eat. They pair particularly well with fish or meat dishes, because the carrot leaves have a refreshing and mild taste. I sometimes serve this along with my steamed branzino or sweet and sour spare ribs. You can also serve it as part of an array of other cold salads, like Chinese cucumber salad. This side dish also pairs well with other recipes that use carrots because you can use both parts of the carrots.
Active Time: 10 min
Total Time: 15 min
Servings: 4 people as an appetizer or side dish
- 1 bunch of organic carrot leaves (also known as carrot tops or carrot greens)
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce1 (e.g., San-J gluten free soy sauce if gluten free)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
- Start heating a pot of water over medium-high heat.
- While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the carrot leaves. First cut off the leaves from the carrots, then discard the long stem parts2 and chop the carrot leaves into 1-inch (~2.5 cm) pieces. Set the carrots aside (you can use them in my other recipes).
- Wash the carrot leaves. Remove the ones that have wilted.
- When the water starts boiling, add the carrot leaves and blanch for 2 minutes. The leaves are very delicate so make sure not to overcook them.
- Squeeze out the extra water and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Mix the sauce well with the carrot leaves.
- Any light soy sauce (not the kind for coloring purpose) can do the job. Kikkoman, Pearl River Bridge (珠江橋牌), Lee Kum Kee （李錦記）are some of the common Asian soy sauce brands. Or you can use San-J gluten free soy sauce if you are gluten free.
- The stems are discarded because they are a bit stringy and hard to chew. They have a similar taste to celery.
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Susan Sheinfeld wrote:
Thanks very much! (I’m growing carrots on my patio, and appreciate your recipe for using the greens.)
Glad you liked it! We have tried growing veggies on a patio without too much success. What’s your secret? My father-in-law says we need more dirt, so we’re going to try a full-on garden next year.
Kristine Walkley wrote:
Just brought home from the CSA a bunch of carrots with a lot of greens attached and decided not to throw them in the compost this time! Your recipe looked nice and easy so I tried it. Wow! Carrot greens might be my new favorite veggie. Had some leftover spicy peanut sauce from a Thai curry recipe and it goes very nicely with this as well!
I’ll have to give the peanut sauce combination a try sometime. Nice idea!
Freestylin Foodie wrote:
Ohhh! That sounds like a nice addition to this recipe. Trying it tonight with carrot greens from our garden. First time growing carrots and felt that those greens shouldn’t be wasted! Thanks for sharing your recipe!
Let us know how it goes!
K Vo wrote:
Sounds great and delicious just by reading and imagining.! Will make it today.
Thank you so much for sharing!
Hope it turns out well!
Was really informative,
We usually discarded it.
A M.ERAPPA wrote:
Recipe is nicely and clearly explained which can be prepared even by a layman(beginner)
Please be informed is there any side effects by eating carrot leaves?
From A.M Erappa #432 E BLOCK, 10TH CROSS ,JPNAGAR MYSURU, 570031 Karnataka.
I’m not personally aware of any side effects, but according to the carrot museum (http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/carrotops.html), there have been reports of people having adverse reactions. I recommend you do your own research on safety and when in doubt, consult with your own health professional. I do not give any medical or side-effect-type advice on my blog.
Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you for that link. The link as far as I could see was all positive. Food allergies and intolerance can occur with any foods, just like some people are allergic to eggs, nuts, and fish for example, they can also be allergic to carrot tops and the carrot itself.
Thank you for sharing. I had the carrot tops with roast duck (from a restaurant) and it helped cut some of the fattiness by providing an earthy fresh flavor. I added a squeeze of lemon to mine also.
Thanks for stopping by. I’ll try your lemon idea at some point in the future.
Thanks for sharing your recipe!
I was wondering: why do you only blanch the carrot tops and mix in the sauce after that? I was thinking of stir-frying the tops in the sauce. Is that something you tried?
Blanching best preserves the original flavor and is suitable for a salad. The salad is meant to be eaten cold. I’m not sure if it would work for a warm/hot stir-fry, but you can try and let me know how it goes. I’d be interested.
Thanks for stopping by!
My new garden is not yet up to speed. Glad to be able to eat the carrot leaves too! Thank you for this recipe.
Thanks for stopping by!
I just received my first box from Misfit Market. I got a bunch of colored carrots. I wondered what I could do with them and googled it. I saw your recipe and how funny that you mention Misfit Market. I am definitely trying it. I do want to waste any food.
Great, I hope it turns out well. Let us know how it goes!
I was curious about the possibility of cooking carrot greens and found this recipe and tried it. It was great. Thanks for sharing it.
Thanks for the feedback. It’s great to hear back from those that have tried my recipes. I hope you’ll try a few more!
VERONICA C.Moore wrote:
I tried it for the first time using carrottops, & I like the recipe.
I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Clara Nieforth wrote:
I don’t discard the tougher part of the carrot stems, I simmer them with pea pods, the stem end of beans, and the peel from broccoli stems (and other vegetable matter – whatever I have left from vegetable prep) and use it as vegetable stock or soup base.
Kathleen Schalk wrote:
My Carrot Tops turned out tough and I’m not sure why.
Did you remove the leaves from the stems (step 2)? The stems tend to be tougher and are not used in this recipe. If you removed the stems and it’s still tough, you can try blanching a bit longer as well. Hope that works for you!
I was so happy to find this recipe today. I didn’t have what u used so I winged it and it was good but I’m going to plan for it again soon. I am so excited to know that I can eat the tops bc that makes my harvest double!
I hope it turns out well! We actually just planted carrots too here recently. Please share if you have tips on growing carrots!
MP Holtz wrote:
Trying it now, just got a nice bunch of Misfit organic carrots and thought “what a waste”! Not anymore! Thank you.
Let me know how you like it!
Lovely and simple to make, thank you for sharing
Jane F Schwind wrote:
I drained the sauce off after a bit and added a spash of lemon juice. Very good.
marcy youker wrote:
Great recipe tasted very good, thanks ,love your recipes.
Anthony Gondoun wrote:
Thanks. Jus got some carrots leaves from a friend garden. I know it’s good but don’t know how to prepare it. Now I need to follow the directions.
I hope you like how it turns out!
Lol… I will be trying this soon! 5 stars because you nailed the “misfits box!”