Farmers Market WTF: Week 3 – Carrot Tops

For most people, hearing “carrot top” conjures up images of a skinny comedian with bright red hair who totes around a trunk full of props.

For me, I imagine the leafy greens atop my carrots and think, ‘What can I do with these?’

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Purple carrots from the Green City Market

After asking the farmers at the market without much help, I took matters into my own hands to research what, if any, uses there were for my carrot tops. Check out the Carrot Museum website for some great recipes. I really loved their idea for a carrot top pesto, though I didn’t actually follow their recipe since I didn’t have the ingredients on hand.

Normally I would let you know about the fantastic nutrition of carrot tops before I delve into recipes and the like. However, there were no reputable sources to be found on the topic. That doesn’t mean that carrot tops aren’t nutritious, however. If I had to use my nutritional knowledge and background to estimate the nutrients found in carrot tops, I would say that there is potassium (promotes heart health among other things), vitamin K (involved in bone health and maintenance as well as blood clotting) and iron. Again, this is my estimation of the nutrients found in carrot tops and should by no means be taken as fact.

So, on to the recipe:

Carrot Top Pesto:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup carrot tops, rinsed, with any large stems removed
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, rinsed
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil (or more if you want a thinner pesto)
  • 3 Tbsp nuts or seeds (I used pepitas because that was all I had. Pine nuts or walnuts would be best)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until creamy.

Carrot top pesto made an excellent topping to my turkey meatballs at lunch…

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Turkey meatballs (lean ground turkey with red onions basil and herbs) over sauteed veggies and purple kale, topped with carrot top pesto. Yum!

Carrot top pesto is great on toast, too!

Farmers Market WTF: Week 1 – Kohlrabi

As a volunteer at the Green City Market in Chicago, I am surrounded by amazingly fresh, delicious, colorful produce every week. It’s heaven for me.

However, even with my love of fruits, veggies and cooking/eating delicious foods, the farmer’s market can sometimes evoke a “WTF” moment. What is that?? How do I make it?? Is it even edible?

What is that??? (Fabulous picture, I know)

Thus, I have decided to start a series of “Farmer’s Market: WTF?” posts. I will discuss what the food is, the nutritional benefit and my experience trying to eat and cook it.

First up: Kohlrabi

No, that’s not an alien-baby. It’s Kohlrabi!

Kohlrabi, which got it’s name from a German term for “cabbage-turnip,” is actually packed with nutrition. For just 50 calories, a whole [medium-sized] bulb provides 6 grams fiber, no fat/cholesterol, little carbs/sugar and a whopping 180% daily value for Vitamin C.

Fabulous! But how do you get all of that nutrition into your body? How to eat it?

First off, when in doubt at the farmer’s market, ask the farmers. They can always provide tips for how to use a fruit or vegetable. However, it’s good to do a little experimenting as well.

In my case, the farmer told me that I could either peel it and eat it raw (think jicama), or roast it. Now, I’m all about eating raw veggies, but I wanted to have a backup plan just in case.

FRITTERS! You can pretty much grate any veggie and turn it into a delicious fritter.

Kohlrabi & Yellow Squash Fritters

Side note:

  • You can sort of tell in the picture above (top left corner), but I was able to cook the kohlrabi leaves (tastes and looks like Swiss chard). I just rinsed them, cut them up and sauteed in olive oil and garlic. Yum! And I love being able to use the whole plant.
  • Raw kohlrabi: not as yum as I had hoped. It tastes sort of like a radish or the stem of broccoli (which is absolutely edible!). Would have been better with a little hummus or even with the Greek yogurt dip I used to top the fritters.

Kohlrabi & Yellow Squash Fritters:

Step one:

  • Wash & peel kohlrabi
  • Wash one yellow squash (you could also use zucchini) and cut off both ends (no need to peel)

Sadly, the kohlrabi is white underneath it’s skin

Step two:

  • Grate kohlrabi & yellow squash
  • Blot between paper towels to get rid of excess liquid (note: you’ll need a lot of paper towels)
  • Sprinkle with salt to help draw more moisture out

Grated kohlrabi & yellow squash. Would’ve been much easier with a food processor/grater attachment.

Step three:

Add:

  • 2 Tbsp almond meal (used this to lend a little sweetness, but you can certainly use bread crumbs or even flour)1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (+/- depending on your spice tolerance)
  • 1/2 tsp smoke paprika.

Step four:

  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet pan and also spray with cooking spray
  • Form patties (I made five out of my mixture)
  • Cook for ~3-4 minutes on each side. Be careful when flipping (use two spatulas) because they are very fragile.

Topping:

  • Nonfat Greek yogurt (1/2 cup)
  • Juice from jar of kalamata olives (2 tsp)
  • Mix them together. This was a super-simple way to make a tzatziki-like sauce!
  • Top with a kalamata olive and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

FARMER’S MARKET WTF: CONQUERED!