6 Genius Root-to-Stalk Recipes That Use the Entire Vegetable
Spring has sprung! Gardens and markets are filled with fresh vegetables, and you can enjoy every last bite of them. In fact, the greens and peels that usually get discarded are just as delicious as the parts you know and love. To help cultivate a root-to-stalk mind-set, we asked four of our favorite chefs to create inspiring recipes using these overlooked bits, from carrot tops to chard stems—and even help us grow a few sprouts of our own.
Charred Carrot Toasts With Carrot-Top Pesto and Buttermilk Ricotta
Carrot fronds and scallion greens are full of herby flavor that brightens up almost any savory dish. Vivian Howard, star of the PBS series A Chef's Life and chef-owner of Chef & the Farmer in North Carolina, roasts carrots till they're golden brown, then arranges them on crusty ciabatta with creamy, tangy buttermilk ricotta and dollops of pesto made of carrot fronds and scallions. (The pesto is also tasty drizzled on eggs, mashed into a baked potato, or tossed with roasted veggies.) And here's a bonus: If you plunk carrot tops and scallion bulbs in water and give them a little sun, they'll grow new greens, so you can keep these pesto fixings on hand.
Get the recipe: Charred Carrot Toasts With Carrot-Top Pesto and Buttermilk Ricotta
Radish Greens Salad With Dill Pickle
Recipes don't usually include radish greens (too bitter), but mixed with lettuce, radish tops give a simple salad just the right peppery kick. Hugh Acheson, Top Chef judge and chef-partner at four Georgia restaurants, combines radish tops with delicate sweet lettuce, sliced radishes, and black-eyed peas, then tosses it all with a tangy vinaigrette made of chopped pickles and their brine.
Get the recipe: Radish Greens Salad With Dill Pickle
Leek Greens Carbonara With Bacon and Basil
Recipes don't usually include leeks' dark green parts (too tough). But if you slice leek greens superthin and add a little extra cooking time, they'll turn tender and flavorful. Hugh Acheson, Top Chef judge and chef-partner at four Georgia restaurants, parboils leek greens, sautés them with applewood-smoked bacon and stirs in spaghetti, Parmesan, and eggs for an irresistibly creamy result.
Get the recipe: Leek Greens Carbonara With Bacon and Basil
Ginger and Scallion Fried Rice With Chard and Pickled Stems
Chard leaves get plenty of love, but the stalks pack a delicious punch, too. Vivian Howard, star of the PBS series A Chef's Life and chef-owner of Chef & the Farmer in North Carolina, quick-pickles the bright magenta and gold pieces for a crunchy fried-rice topping you'll want to eat straight from the fridge. (Her trick for the crispiest fried rice: Let the cooked grain dry out overnight in an open container in the refrigerator, then press it against the bottom of a hot pan without stirring until it forms a golden crust.)
Get the recipe: Ginger and Scallion Fried Rice With Chard and Pickled Stems
Chickpea Tabbouleh Recipe
Herb stems can also be as flavorful as their leaves. Nora Pouillon, chef and co-owner of Restaurant Nora in Washington, D.C., tosses in both the leaves and stems of Italian parsley and mint (plus scallion whites and greens) for her tabbouleh, which is gluten-free: She swaps finely chopped chickpeas for the usual bulgur.
Get the recipe: Chickpea Tabbouleh Recipe
Beet Burgers With Lemon Aioli
If the only thing that stands between you and eating more beets is (literally) the peel, we've got good news: You can cook them skin and all. To make this colorful beet burger, Jenn Louis, chef and co-owner of Lincoln Restaurant in Portland, Oregon, grates the whole root using the large holes of a box grater, then shapes the shreds into patties, which hold their shape nicely, thanks to a mixture of pulsed lentils, eggs, and walnuts. Add a refreshing zing from lemon and orange zest, and these burgers will make you flip.
Get the recipe: Beet Burgers With Lemon Aioli