Monday, May 9, 2016

Carrot Tops Are Not Just Rabbit Food


There is nothing better than farm-fresh, just picked carrots. The flavor is so much more floral than the ones from the grocery store. While at Holbrook Farm I recently grabbed a big bag of them not just for the root, but also for the leaves on top.

Over the years, there have been rumors that carrot tops are poisonous. Not true. They are edible and, in fact, full of vitamins and minerals. They contain SIX times the vitamin C of the root! They're also high in potassium, which can lower blood pressure, support your metabolism, and help prevent osteoporosis. The leaves also contain calcium and are packed with chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is an excellent source of magnesium, which promotes healthy blood pressure as well as strong bones and muscles, and has been noted to purify the blood, lymph nodes, and adrenal glands. Got it. See, good for you.


What do they taste like? I'd say they have an earthy yet herby taste, somewhat like parsley, but a bit more bitter. You can eat carrot tops raw or cooked. Since the carrots I picked up at Holbrook Farm were so fresh, I decided to keep them raw and make a quick pesto.

I easily could have gone the pasta route. Instead, I spooned the pesto over grilled, thin-sliced chicken breasts for a lean, healthy dinner. And, there was enough pesto leftover to use as a sauce for a homemade pizza the next night.


Carrot Top Pesto

Ingredients
  • 3 1/2 cups fresh carrot leaves, thoroughly washed and stems removed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt, to taste
Directions
  1. To toast the pumpkin seeds spread them out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, place in preheated 350-degree Fahrenheit oven and toast until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. In a food processor, combine the carrot leaves, garlic, toasted pumpkin seeds and salt. Process until finely minced. With the food processor on, stream in the extra virgin olive oil until well combined.
  3. Pour into a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the grated Parmesan.
  4. Serve room temperature.
Suggestions
  • To make this recipe paleo-friendly, just omit the Parmesan.
Yum
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