When I buy a bunch of carrots at the farmers market and am asked if I want the long, frilly, green tops snapped off, I usually say “yes” without a second thought.
But not any more.
Thanks to food writer Tara Duggan, I’m going to hoard these from now on.
That’s because she’s taught me to use them in this wonderful version of tabbouleh that I’m now addicted to.
Her “Quinoa-Carrot Tabbouleh” is featured in her newest cookbook, “Root to Stalk Cooking” (Ten Speed Press), of which I recently received a review copy.
Duggan, a long-time staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle’s Food section, has created a most noble book that implores us to stop throwing out perfectly good bits of fruits and veggies that we could be putting to delicious use instead.
The book includes more than 65 recipes for using peels, stalks, ribs, stems and rinds in imaginative ways.
Leftover potato peels? Make “Potato-Skin-Bacon Fat Chips.” A pile of husks from shucking corn? Use them to bake “Corn-Pancetta Puddings in Corn Husk Baskets.” How clever is that?
I love nothing better as a side dish in summer than a grain salad full of veggies. “Quinoa-Carrot Tabbouleh” is exactly that. Instead of the usual profusion of chopped parsley, it makes use of the green tops of carrots, which tastes of carrot, but with a more earthy, herbaceous quality and less sweetness than the root part itself.
Quinoa stands in for the usual bulgur. It all gets mixed together with cucumber, tomato, green onions, fresh mint, thin slivers of crunchy carrot, olive oil and plenty of lemon juice.
It’s a bright, light, satisfying salad. Best yet, it’s one where nothing goes to waste, either.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Tops from 1 bunch carrots (about 3 cups chopped), washed and finely chopped
2 small carrots, peeled or scrubbed and shaved with a peeler into thin rounds
1 cup diced English cucumber
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions, white and green parts
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and drain. Place quinoa with the water and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the water is absorbed and the grains are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Spread the quinoa out on a rimmed baking sheet to cool.
Place quinoa in a large bowl with the carrot tops, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, green onions, mint, the juice of 1 lemon, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. toss and let sit for 10 minutes as the quinoa absorbs the liquid and the flavors combine, then add the olive oil and pepper to taste. Add more lemon and salt to taste, then serve at room temperature.
From “Root to Stalk Cooking” by Tara Dugan
More Carrot Goodness: Roasted Carrot Dip
Another Quinoa Salad: Tabouleh with Quinoa, Corn, Scallions and Goat Cheese