Carrot Top Soup

You read that right: it’s soup weather in Seattle again. And you read the other part right, too: this soup is made from carrot tops.  Don’t worry, Harold McGee says they’re probably safe to eat.

The recipe comes from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors and it’s my favorite kind of soup recipe.  The star of the show here is a single bunch of young carrots, from top to root tip.  Pick a perfect bunch next time you’re at the farmers market (a rainbow bunch is always attractive, but these delicate orange carrots came from our Nash’s CSA).

Show those carrots off by making such a simple soup that the carrot flavor gets to shine.  The frilly, spring-green carrot leaves highlight the vegetal notes that underlie the carrots’ sweetness.  A handful of herbs, a few spoonfuls of rice for body, and the soup makes the water you add into its own rich broth.Carrot Top Soup: Prepare your soup ingredients in advance, including plucking the tender frilly carrot leaves from the stems of six medium carrots (don’t use tougher-looking leaves or any stems).  Melt 2 Tb. butter in your soup pot.  Add two thinly-sliced leeks (use the white and light green parts; save the dark green tops for stock!), six thinly sliced or finely diced carrots, the carrot leaves, two good sprigs of thyme, a handful of chopped parsley, and 3 Tb. uncooked white rice.  Saute for a few minutes without letting the ingredients brown, then add 6 c. water and 1 1/2 tsp. salt.  Bring to a boil and then simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked.  Fish out the thyme stems and taste for salt.  Serve each bowl of soup sprinkled with more chopped parsley.

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26 thoughts on “Carrot Top Soup

  1. StefanGourmet

    I’ve been wondering about using carrot leaves after having succesfully used leaves from radishes. I should probably get organic carrots for this as I am sure the regular ones will be loaded with pesticides.

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      I haven’t experimented with carrot tops as widely as radish tops, but I have heard anecdotes about various uses–let me know what you find! And I do try to buy most things organic for that very reason. :)

      Reply
  2. hännah

    This looks delicious! Isn’t it sad, though, when it’s soup weather in July? I actually made a quick trip up to Seattle this weekend (for the Capitol Hill Block Party) and so I know exactly what you mean. :)

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      Hey, you were in my neighborhood! Although I admit that I didn’t even make it near the block party this year. :) Hope you had fun! (And I have to tell you that I secretly like soup so much that I don’t mind occasional soup weather, even in summer.)

      Reply
  3. baconbiscuit212

    Ooooh! Carrot tops! Breakin’ the law ;-)

    All joking aside, until today, I had only ever seen that NYT blog post about the tops being toxic. Thanks for the link with Harold McGee’s response!

    Millions of people have eaten tons of carrot tops and I don’t think anyone has been poisoned yet. This looks amazing, Emmy! And a great use of the whole vegetable!

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      It’s funny, because I looked at that blog post as well when I was writing this one, and found in the comments my own protest that Mr. McGee had recently said they were NOT toxic. :)

      Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      Isn’t that book great? I was just flipping through it and noticed how many of the pages are stained and wrinkled–always the mark of a successful cookbook in my kitchen. :)

      Reply
  4. lynncreation

    Have not heard of carrot tops could be toxic. When I was little I took the carrots out of my grandmother’s vegetable cultivation, rinsed them and just took of the thread narrow peak at them and threw the stump with their foliage when I was finished. Just as she taught me and have never noticed any difference, even on those that are purchased in the grocery store with, I have scaled before I had eaten or cooked them.

    Reply
  5. rachelocal

    I was just saying I want to make carrot soup after seeing a beautiful puréed variety in a gourmet market. Maybe I’ll start with this one. Looks great!

    Reply
  6. Bob Vivant

    I love the notion of using the carrot leaves. If our heat wave ever ends, I’ll give it a try. For now, the only soups I’m whipping up are ice cold!

    Reply
  7. Healthy Moderation

    I was wondering if the carrot tops were edible just yesterday. I prematurely plucked a carrot from the garden and knew I had to do something other than just compost it. Thank you for opening the door of carrot tops!

    Reply
  8. Eileen

    I have a friend whose mother-in-law has evidently been making sauteed carrot greens for 50 years. Love this soup idea–it’s almost like nose-to-tail, only with vegetables!

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      Yes–and nose-to-tail is just the thrifty way that a 50-year cook would do things. :) I will have to try sauteeing the greens sometime. You really can’t go wrong with sauteeing greens in butter. :)

      Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      I KNOW! That’s how we fell for them and now we’re hooked. :) We were so excited when they started offering their CSA in Seattle, we really like it.

      Reply
  9. Somer

    I’m worried someday I’ll take your advice to the extreme and eat some green tops that are actually inedible… Maybe its best if I just do what you do ;)

    Reply

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