Roasted Carrot Pitas with Carrot Top Spread

Do you have a favorite veggie? One you love so much that you’ve considered getting it inked somewhere on your body? If so, we should probably be friends.

Carrot Top Spread

For me, that veggie is carrots. Particularly those that come in multi-colored bunches, beautiful green tops kept attached and in tact.

Carrots are simply a delightful sight, and I happen to absolutely adore their earthy, slightly sweet flavor, too.

Multi-colored carrots

However, it wasn’t until, perhaps just last year, that I would do much with a bunch’s tops. Despite this, it had always pained me to dump all of those elegant, lacy greens into the trash. I’m not one to waste food, especially when it’s the kind that comes straight from the ground and still appears rather fresh.

So, I finally decided to do some research. The result? Without too much surprise, I discovered that carrots were edible from head-to-toe, and that I no longer should be trashing their tops.

Since, I remain determined to find new ways to use them. I’d invite you to do the same. (And share your findings with me!)

Carrot Tops

What do carrot tops taste like? To me, the little leaves resemble the qualities of an herb – very unique in flavor and fairly pungent. I’d liken it to parsley, with a fresh flavor that can cut other rich foods, yet with a slightly bitter touch.

Like herbs, I love to loosely chop the leaves, and use them for topping salads and sandwiches. I also love them for a flavorful pesto-like spread, such as this one.

Roasted Carrot Pitas with Carrot Top Spread

Given the flavor of carrot tops, this spread is a bit more bitter than a traditional basil pesto, which is why it pairs so nicely with the sweetness of roasted carrots. The beans add a boost of protein to it and also mellow out the flavor. Together with crunchy cabbage and sunflower seeds, all sandwiched into a pita, this creamy spread feels almost decadent. Yet, it doesn’t require much more effort than it takes to pull out the food processor and place it on your kitchen counter. Thank you to whoever invented this wonderful appliance.

Roasted Carrot Pitas with Carrot Top Spread

 

I chose to keep this dish vegan, but feel free to add some goat cheese or feta on top. You could also swap the pita for a whole wheat tortilla wrap if pita is not available. Enjoy!

CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…

Salad with Salmon and Collard Green Pesto

I’ve been eating my weight in greens, thanks to this new community garden plot of mine. Some slightly poor planning has left me with little other than kale, collards, swiss chard and tatsoi. I’m waiting with patience for cucumbers and tomatoes, and am in the meantime throwing down a greens party nearly every night in the FoodFitnessFreshAir kitchen.

I really haven’t any serious complaints about it though.

Salad with Salmon and Collard Green Pesto

I do have some little baby carrots and radishes growing, which make an appearance in this recipe. And some lettuce from a friendly neighbor. Both worked well to construct the bed of salad that’s placed beneath the real stars of this dish: salmon and collard green pesto.

Since crispy broiled salmon speaks for itself, let’s get straight to the pesto.

Currently, I have no basil in sight, aside from a few slow growing plants on my back porch. Likely you don’t either.

What there is an abundance of this time of year, however, is greens. And as mentioned above, thankfully I’ve got a ton with which to work. Regardless of whether you’re reaping the same harvest or not, I’d encourage you to give this a go. This time of year, I guarantee it’ll be cheaper, and just as tasty, as traditional basil pesto. And even a little healthier, too.

I tell you, collard greens make for one nutrient-packed pesto.

Salad with Salmon and Collard Green Pesto

If you do have basil laying around, feel free to throw it in with the greens. You could also swap the collards for other greens, such as swiss chard or baby kale. Stay away from greens that are on the more bitter side or are more matured, which will reap a heavier flavor. These could have their place too in pesto, but not aside the delicacy of roasted salmon.

If you have any other green-loaded recipes, please share! I’m looking to freeze a bunch of this pesto for the winter, but would love to hear your ideas, too. Let me know how you’re using kale/collards this year!

CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…

Tatsoi Saag Paneer

Saag Paneer has always been one of my favorite Indian dishes. It’s super savory, has that slight hint of both sweet and rich components going on from a touch of cream, and has a smoothness that feels divine on top of Naan, or even rice.

It’s also incredibly easy to create at home, which isn’t always the case when it comes to Indian food.

Tatsoi

Technically, this dish would require whipping up your own mild, fresh cheese, known as the paneer, which in itself isn’t actually all that complicated. However, this version of Saag Paneer swaps the cheese for tofu, making it even more convenient and quick to whip up. Perhaps I should rename it to Saag Tofu, but I think the Tatsoi in the title is enough of a curveball in itself.

What’s tatsoi, and what’s it doing in this recipe? Typically, at least in the states, Saag Paneer is made with spinach. You could certainly use that in my version too, and I’ve included instructions to do so. However, I chose to use tatsoi instead, because, well, I have a garden full of it. If you’re wondering what to do with your own tatsoi, I would highly recommend you put it to use in this.

Tatsoi Saag Paneer

Like spinach, tatsoi is a tender green, although with just slightly more of a bite…especially when you let it reach its flowering point in the garden. (Pick it before this if you can.)

In comparison to most other greens though, the flavor is subtle, and the texture is creamy. This makes it so adaptable for this dish, where the dominance of flavors should remain in its collection of spices.

Tatsoi

If you’re not familiar with tatsoi, try it out if you can and get your adventure thriving in the kitchen. It grows abundantly during the spring months, and can also be found for pretty cheap in most Asian markets. Again though, spinach is a guaranteed go-to, and will also work wonders here, so have no fear if tatsoi can’t be found.

Philadelphia Community Garden

Serve the Saag alongside basmati rice, preferably of the fiber-rich, brown variety, and a warm piece of naan. This dish will also goes well with a wide range of other Indian dishes, from curries to masalas, and more. So if you feel inspired, make a feast.

CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…

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My coworkers think I’m turning into a radish.

I slice them daily. Put them on everything. And am now photographing them as if they were a bouquet.

Radishes > peonies, wouldn’t you agree?

Pickled Radishes

Anyway, thanks to a garden plot full of them, I currently have what feels like an endless supply of radishes. And after this recipe, I finally have a more-than-exciting way to enjoy them.

These pickles are awesome. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Radishes

I could eat these by the fork. Crisp, slightly tangy, and with a hint of spice, this is one flavorful and addicting pickle, worthy of being served all on its own. Although, add it to a cheese plate, or atop a fresh salad, and I would never argue against that. I could also easily see these chopped up and tossed into a spring egg or potato salad. Or on top a slightly fancier version of Avocado Radish Toast. Yum.

Pickled Radishes

Easy-to-make, this is a quick, non-canning version of pickles that comes together within just a handful of minutes. Feel free to play around with the spices, and let me know how you end up using these!

dos CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…

Radish Avocado Toast

I’m declaring this the raddest snack of the season. Hence why I’m bringing you another Radish Toast recipe after this variation with Asparagus Pesto a few weeks ago. This is that guy’s simpler, but equally as rad counterpart.

Avocado Radish Toast

This is an annual favorite, and it’s been showing up at my table quite a bit this year. Cheers to having a garden full of radishes. (Expect another radish recipe coming your way, soon.)

It’s seriously the definition of rad.

  • 5 simple ingredients
  • Assembly time of 5 minutes or less
  • Healthy & seasonal

Rad.

Because who has time for elaborate snacks when the weather outside is so nice? Aside from the occasional rainy Saturday or coffee+music filled Sunday spent indoors, those days full of cooking begin to dwindle once June rolls up. Luckily, recipes like this prove you can have plenty of outdoor time and good eats, too – no sacrifice needed.

The result of this particular recipe is a creamy, and crispy, ever-so-satisfying snack. If you want throw a fried egg on top, and call it a lunch.

You may wish to also play with the herbs and spices you choose to use. My favorite alt. to this is to add a sprinkle of cumin on top, derived from whole seeds that’ve been given a toast on the stovetop and a fine ground from a mortar and pestle. (You can also use a spice grinder.) CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…