Wondering what to do with carrot tops? This easy carrot top chimichurri riffs on a classic to turn them into a flavorful, versatile sauce for steak, chicken, fish, and more.
Why we love this recipe
Chimichurri is a super-flavorful herb sauce with roots in in both Argentina and Uruguay. Classic versions use flat-leaf parsley for all or most of the fresh, leafy minced herbs. You can make our version with parsley if you like, without any additional changes.
But it turns out that chimichurri is also a FABULOUS way to use an abundance of greens from a farmers' market or CSA, including carrot greens. Carrot tops have a fairly strong flavor profile, so they need strong flavors to balance them.
Carrot top chimichurri is:
- Quick and easy to make
- Full-flavored and well-balanced: tangy, herbaceous, savory, and smooth
- Versatile to the max: Spoon it over beef, pork, chicken, fish, seafood, beans, eggs, veggies // Stir it into dips // Dollop it onto soups // And more
Here's what you'll need to make this carrot greens recipe.
- Carrot greens. To prep the carrot greens, run you fingers up the length of the stem to remove the delicate leaves and stems from the tougher central one. Discard the thick stem or save for another use. Wash the delicate leaves and stems and dry well, then finely chop with a chef's knife.
- Other fresh herbs. Carrot greens are pretty strong, so I like to mix them with other herbs. Parsley, cilantro, and the tops of green onions are a great combo. You can use them all in equal proportions.
- Red pepper. I usually use dried red pepper flakes, but you can mince a little bit of fresh red hot pepper to taste. Or leave out the heat entirely if you prefer.
- Oregano. Dried or fresh is fine.
How to make it
Carrot top chimichurri is super-quick and easy to make. It's worth chopping the herbs by hand to get the right texture. Here's what you'll do. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post.
- Letting the garlic chill out in the vinegar for a few minutes mellows its bite.
- Stir the herbs into the vinegar mixture and coat everything well.
- Streaming in the olive oil while stirring constantly will give you the texture you're looking for.
- Chimichurri will last in the fridge for a few days thanks to the high acid content.
Expert tips and FAQs
Yup, sure can. They're fairly bitter but also have a nice, herbal taste that's a little bit carrot-like. The thicker stems aren't great for a delicate sauce like chimichurri — so remove those before chopping.
Use them like herbs to garnish virtually anything! Or add them to green salads in small amounts.
Nope, quite the opposite. Leaving the tops on draws moisture out of the carrots and makes them much quicker to go limp (if you will). Remove the tops and store them separately in the fridge. Tops want to be used within a few days. The carrots themselves will last much longer.
You can keep it tightly sealed in the fridge for a few days or freeze it for a few months.
How to serve carrot top chimichurri
This is a versatile sauce that works well with lots of proteins and veggies. We love it with:
- Roasted chicken
- Roasted veggies (especially carrots)
- Fried or scrambled eggs
- Dip (just stir it into some sour cream to taste)
Love easy sauces with fresh herbs?
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- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon minced fresh
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup minced carrot tops
- ⅔ cup minced green herbs (parsley leaves, cilantro leaves, green onion or scallion greens // see note)
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together the vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Let sit for five minutes while the vinegar mellows the bite of the garlic.
- Stir in minced greens.
- Drizzle in olive oil while stirring constantly. That's it!
- To prep the carrot tops, run your fingers down the thick stems to remove the small tender leaves and stems. Discard thick stems.
- You can adjust the vinegar, garlic, and salt to taste. I prefer a punchy, full-flavored chimichurri. It wouldn't be crazy to lower the amounts of any of those ingredients by ⅓ to ½. Just keep in mind that salt and acid have a close relationship, so changing one will probably make you want to change the other.
- This recipe is VERY accommodating when it comes to your choice of greens. Carrot tops are fairly strong, so unless you really adore them, I wouldn't use more than half a cup. Parsley is the traditional green in chimichurri, but cilantro works beautifully too. I often do a combination of ⅓ carrot tops, ⅓ cilantro and ⅓ green onion tops.
- Due to the high acid content, chimichurri keeps well tightly sealed in the fridge for a few days. You can freeze it if you like, too.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 126Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 269mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g