Wonder no more about how to use those carrot tops from the market! This Carrot Top Tabbouleh Salad uses the whole carrot for a delicious, out-of-the-box Lebanese-inspired side dish!
What is tabbouleh?
Tabbouleh is a traditional Lebanese dish that is made from finely chopped parsley tossed with chopped tomatoes, onions, bulgur, and mint, with a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon. Also sometimes spelled tabouli, it is a healthy and delightfully herby and lemony dish that goes wonderfully with falafel, inside a pita with hummus, or on top of a tossed green salad.
While my carrot top tabbouleh is certainly not traditional, it does borrow most of its flavor combinations from it!
What is Bulgur?
Bulgur is a whole grain product made from wheat groats that are cracked and then parboiled. It originates in Middle Eastern cuisine. Bulgur is not a gluten free product.
Because bulgur is parboiled, it can be cooked quicker than other grains. It is made similar to other whole grains, with a ratio of 2 to 1, water to bulgur. It cooks in about 15 minutes. Fine bulgur can simply be soaked in water before use, often without cooking at all (this is usually how traditional tabbouleh is made).
You can use bulgur in any recipe that calls for brown rice, quinoa, or couscous, with adjusted cooking times as needed.
What else can you do with carrot tops?
Carrot tops have an herbaceous flavor, somewhere between carrots and parsley. That flavor is what inspired me to use them in tabbouleh. But carrot tops can be used in many other types of dishes!
Use carrot tops chopped in salads. The greens are a bit more chewy than most greens, and they really add to tossed salads. Chop them small for a huge burst of flavor!
Carrot tops can also be used to make a variety of sauces! Be it pesto, chimichurri, or salsa, carrot tops elevate your condiments with an unexpected punch. Use carrot tops in place of parsley in most any recipe.
How to store carrot tops
You don’t want wilty carrot tops, so it’s important to store them properly. When you get them home, separate them from the carrot. Cut them about an inch or so above the root, and give them a thorough rinse. It can be helpful to fill the sink with water and let them soak a minute. Carrots are usually grown in sandy soil, so the greens are often a bit sandy.
Place the greens on a towel so most of the water can drip off. Then carefully wrap the greens in a paper towel and seal them in an airtight container or zipper bag until you need them. They’ll last a couple days this way.
Leaving the greens attached to the carrots will lead to wilted greens that won’t last as long.
Tips and substitutions for this recipe
Use a food processor to chop the carrot tops. You want a very fine mince on the greens, and a food processor can do the job quickly and efficiently. It’s also fine to use it for the tomatoes and/or carrots, but be careful of over processing. It’s easy to turn tomatoes into soup quickly with a food processor!
Use parsley instead of the carrot tops. If you don’t have whole carrots, simply use parsley instead of the carrot tops. In regular grocery stores, the greens usually aren’t included since they are highly perishable. You’ll need two large bunches of either flat leaf or curly parsley.
Use one chopped cucumber instead of carrots. If you’re not a fan of chopped carrots, a cucumber will do the trick, and is what you’ll find more often in tabbouleh salad. After you chop it, put it in a strainer, along with the tomatoes, and allow them to drain while you prepare the rest of the dish to avoid a soupy tabbouleh!
Use couscous, rice, or another whole grain instead of bulgur. Bulgur is the traditional grain used in tabbouleh, but any other whole grain would also be delicious. Small grains work best.
Carrot Top Tabbouleh
Wonder no more about how to use those carrot tops from the market! This tabbouleh salad uses the whole carrot for a delicious, out-of-the-box Lebanese-inspired side dish!
- ½ cup Dry Bulgur
- 1 cup Water
- 2 cups Chopped Carrot Tops (from about 3-4 carrots)
- 1 cup Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 cup Chopped Carrots (about 3 carrots)
- ¼ cup Fresh Mint, minced
- 3 Tbsp Minced Onion (or 2 Green Onions)
- Salt to taste, sparingly
For the Dressing
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 Clove Garlic, minced
Combine bulgur and water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until tender; about 15 minutes (read package instructions to be sure).
Meanwhile, chop all the vegetables, and place them in a large bowl.
Make the dressing by combining olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Whisk. Set aside.
When the bulgur is cooked, transfer to a fine mesh strainer, and rinse with cold water until cool to the touch.
Pour the cooked bulgur in the vegetables. Pour the dressing in, and mix the salad together.
Refrigerate for at least an hour for flavors to combine. Taste and add salt sparingly, if needed.