Cass McCarthy is an organic home grower and incredible cook! Each season Cass shares with us some of her delicious seasonal recipes so you can make the most out of the produce from your garden, your local market or supermarket.
The humble carrot is a staple in many households, but did you know you can eat the carrot tops too? Cass has shared two recipes with us so you can use the entire vegetable and minimise your waste in the kitchen this winter.
The winter growing season here in the Northern Rivers is by far the most productive and enjoyable time of the year. Garden beds are overflowing with brassicas, weed growth has slowed and we are now enjoying sweet homegrown carrots and crisp winter greens, two of my favourite crops to grow. Contrary to popular belief, lettuces and mesclun mix are winter crops that aren’t well suited to growing in our hot summers, which ironically is when most people crave salads. In my opinion, however, nothing accompanies a hearty winter dish better than a side of crunchy bitter greens tossed with a sharp vinaigrette to cut through all that richness.
The vinaigrette below is my everyday salad dressing and I love adding fresh herbs depending on what is in season. Here I add tender carrot tops to dressing and I also enjoy using them as a salad leaf in my meslun mix. As for the carrots themselves, their addition to my creamy hummus recipe is a great way to use up any leftovers and an easy way to sneak in another one of your five a day. The best part is that you can substitute carrots for other vegetables you may have such as beetroot and sweet potato, or keep it plain. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy two of my favourite winter crops than a mezze plate with hummus, olives, pickles, fresh greens and some crunchy sourdough or flatbread to mop it all up with.
- 2 cans chickpeas OR 200g dried chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked until soft
- ½ tsp bicarb soda
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ⅔ cup hulled tahini
- 1 cup roasted or steamed carrots
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 4 tbsp lemon juice (save the zest for the topping)
- 5 tbsp (100ml) cold water
- Sea salt
- 1 heaped tablespoon toasted pistachios, chopped
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons soft carrot tops (or parsley), chopped
- Lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon za’atar
- Pinch of sumac
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Flaky sea salt
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas well. Place in a saucepan with the bicarb soda and cumin, cover with cold water (about 1 litre) and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the chickpeas are very soft and mushy.
- Drain the chickpeas and place into the bowl of a food processor. Process until a stiff paste forms and then slowly add the tahini, roasted carrots, lemon juice, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Slowly add the cold water while the food processor is running and mix until the hummus is very smooth and creamy.
- Combine the chopped pistachios, carrot tops and lemon zest. Sprinkle over the hummus along with the spices. Drizzle over a good glug of olive oil and finish with a little flaky sea salt.
Carrot Top Salad Dressing
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon seeded mustard
- ½ teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped carrot tops
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Combine the oil, vinegar, mustard and honey in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until emulsified.
- Stir through the carrot tops and nutritional yeast if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour dressing over mixed winter salad greens and toss lightly. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.