The last time I bought carrots, the cashier asked if I wanted the tops ripped off. "Almost everyone says yes," he told me — and the reality is that you'll often struggle to even find them with the tops attached. That's too bad, because many vegetable tops are both completely safe and delicious to eat. Here are three preparations worth trying.
Turn Radish Tops Into Pesto
Like radishes themselves, radish greens tend to be peppery with a hint of bitterness. They have a high water content and don't keep long, so I usually wash and rinse sand off them as soon as I get them, then throw them into a food processor with a bunch of other things to make a flexible green pesto. Not only do I get to make use of the leaves, I also have a de facto dipping sauce for raw radish slices as well.
Add Carrot Tops To Your Next Pot Of Soup
Contrary to popular belief, carrot tops are not toxic, so you should absolutely eat them. In fact, they're another popular addition to pesto (search for "carrot top pesto" and you'll see what I mean).
Flavour-wise, think of them as a sweeter, more carroty parsley. Cookbook author Deborah Madison, author of the esteemed Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, has a fantastic soup recipe that calls for carrots as well as their leaves for a particularly saturated carrot flavour.
Stir-Fry Beetroot Greens
If you buy raw beetroot rather than the tinned variety, you should absolutely explore cooking with beeroot greens as well, since they have a similar texture and flavour. The easiest way to eat these is by sautéing or stir-frying them in a little oil until wilted; Martha Stewart likes to add a dab of tomato paste, but I often just go for a few cloves of garlic. Bonus: you can toss a few roasted beetroot bulbs in your sauté for full-on root-to-stalk on a plate.