You know summer is really here when your usual veggie box carrots come in a pretty bunch with the frondy tops still attached. It's such a shame to not use the tops as well as the carrots that I was inspired to use the tops to create a kind of salsa verde with them. So here we have Roasted Carrots & Carrot Top Salsa Verde.
New carrots are so pretty with their lovely bright orange colour & greenest of green foliage that it seems such a waste to do anything but the simplest of recipes.
I love the ethos of 'root to tip' cooking, using all the bits of the vegetable that you might not usually use, is economical if you grow your own, and means you get creative trying to use up all the edible parts of a plant. Obviously this isn't always practical, but if you find carrots with their tops on, radishes with their leaves still attached or beetroot in all it's whole glory, make sure you use every bit!
Carrot tops aren't particularly delicious on their own, but they are full of nutrients. So it makes sense to add them to a green salsa with lots of other flavours. They provide bulk, a little green flavour & texture. Here the other flavours come from capers & mint which together create a slightly addictive tangy salty flavour that is the perfect foil for sweet roasted carrots.
A salsa verde (aka green sauce) is super versatile, especially over summer months when green herbs are in abundance. I've used the leftover salsa (it makes a good jam-jar full) in a summer soup & have spread it on sandwiches. If the weather had been nicer (sigh!) we were planning to do a BBQ, where it wouldn't have been out of place spooned over grilled vegetables. Speaking of which, you could easily swap the carrots being roasted for the carrots being BBQ'd. It would up the roasty smoky flavour which would be so yummy with the salsa verde.
Roasted Carrots & Carrot Top Salsa Verde
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
For the Roasted Carrots
- 15 small carrots (new summer carrots with their tops attached)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pinch sea salt
For the Salsa Verde
- 1 small bunch carrot tops (about 250g . wash carefully to remove grit)
- 1 handful fresh mint (about 50g)
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 100 g pumpkin seeds (or use pistachio, pine nuts or cashews)
- 4 tablespoon olive oil (you might need more to create the salsa.)
For the Carrots
- Chop the tops off the carrots & set aside
- Heat the oven to Gas Mark 7 (220C)
- Arrange the carrots on an oven tray & sprinkle over the olive oil & salt (add a little smoked paprika if you feel like it)
- Roast for approx 20 minutes until softened and slightly scorched on the pointy ends.
- Make the Salsa Verde while the carrots are roasting.
For the Salsa Verde
- Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor & whizz until combined.
- Taste & add extra olive oil or a little bit of the caper juice if needed.
- Serve the roasted carrots dotted with salsa verde & any extra herbs you have. Serve extra salse verde in a little ramekin for people to help themselves to more.