Can You Eat Carrot Tops? YES you can!
Add flavour & reduce food waste
Often the tops of many vegetables are removed before shoppers find them at the grocery store. Extra leaves may be removed for ease of use or handling, but most often it’s because the greens will spoil faster than the vegetable itself.
When you do see beet tops, carrot tops, or radish tops, don’t discard them! These greens are perfectly edible and nutritious too! Here are some quick tips for how to enjoy the often discarded parts of veggies you might not have tried before.
Beet root has a beautifully earthy flavour and you can taste this in beet tops as well. Why not try something new? It’s easy to make beet chips using beet leaves, just as you would with kale or swiss chard.
Beet stems are also great sautéed, pickled or added to stews.
Broccoli Stems and Leaves
You can enjoy the leaves and stem of broccoli as well as their delicious florets! The outer skin of the broccoli stem is a little tough, so feel free to use a vegetable peeler or a paring knife to peel the outside, then julienne or chop the broccoli stem. The stem tastes amazing both raw or cooked so try adding it to soups, stir fry, or even add slivers into your favourite slaw!
Broccoli leaves are rare to purchase but are also edible! Like kale or chard, toss tender leaves into into a hearty salad or chop or sauté larger leaves in a stir fry. You could also use them to wrap veggies or meat, similar to a cabbage roll. Just remove the harder core on the leaf.
The tops of carrots aren’t always available at the grocery store, but if you are shopping at a smaller market or farmer’s market, you might see a bunch with their leafy tops still attached. Carrot tops may have a little bitterness to them, but this can be reduced by blanching them first, then sautéing or frying them. Carrot tops are typically cooked and added to recipes like soups or can be enjoyed raw and blended into a pesto.
People often discard the tough leaves and greens from cauliflower, but they can be used to flavour stocks and broths or chopped to add to soups! Don’t forget to use the cauliflower stem! It has a similar texture to cauliflower, and if you find it tough, simply blanch or cook just slightly longer than you would cauliflower florets.
Celery leaves are wonderfully tender and have a similar flavour to the celery ribs! You can use them fresh like an herb, you can make a pesto with them, you could add them into chicken salad alongside chopped celery. Much like many of the other suggested uses for other vegetables, celery leaves add flavour to soups, stews, stocks and are an interesting addition to stir fry recipes!
Fennel Fronds and Tops
The leafy green parts of fennel are called fronds and have a very light, tender texture (much like dill) – but has a light flavour of anise or liquorice. You can add the fronds to fish or include them to a juice or smoothie to enjoy that light flavour. Fennel tops are also a good addition to flavour stock and broth.
Many people throw away kale stems, but you can use kale stems in a number of ways (much like all of these other leaves and stems). Chop kale stems and add to soups and cook until tender. You can also use them to flavour broths and stocks as well.
Most grocery stores don’t sell kohlrabi with the leaves still, but if you come across one with their leaves still attached, you can use them just like you’d use collard greens! (link to collard greens article)
Radish tops are very light and peppery and can be used much like arugula! Temper their peppery flavour with creamy dressings or a light lemony vinaigrette if you like. They’re also great blanched and sautéed, then served with an acidic dressing, like balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.