Chickpea salad with carrots — carrot tops, that is.

by cindy winetroub rogers

chick peas and carrot tops

“Waste not, want not,” my mother used to say. Though truth, I’ve been known to waste a bit now and then. I’ve wasted money I didn’t have on shoes I didn’t need and couldn’t really walk in. I’ve wasted hours watching Legally Blonde over and over, and over again. I’ve wasted years in jobs I didn’t want and relationships I knew could go nowhere.

But there’s one thing I have not and will never waste. And that’s food.

Maybe it’s an attempt to atone for the massive reams of paper towels I rip through, or maybe it’s my need to feel like I have even a modicum of DIY resourcefulness within me. Not sure. Whatever the reason, I heartily try to squeeze every bit of use out of every food related thing I possibly can.

Pulp left from juicing goes into muffins or becomes a veggie tea. Stale bread becomes croutons and breadcrumbs. Bones left from a roasted chicken go into broths and stocks, as do miscellaneous vegetable scraps.

Speaking of vegetable scraps; let’s talk carrot tops. Light and bright, with a taste akin to parsley yet redolent of carrot, and rich in chlorophyll, potassium, calcium and vitamin K, they’re well worth saving from the trash can or compost bin. And rumor has it that they have 6 times the vitamin C of carrots themselves.

I use them as I would parsley: in pesto, omelets, soups, and salads. Take this delightful chickpea and carrot top salad, adapted from Vegetarian Times. It’s a perfect accompaniment to whatever you’re grilling this fourth of July.

Or, it makes a quick and light summer main on its own or atop a bed of mixed field greens. Perhaps accompanied by a slice or two of ancient grain toast topped with an herbed feta and red pepper spread or smoked Gouda. And a glass of dry rose, of course.

Warm Chickpea and Carrot-top Salad

1. Heat a generous teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat.

2. Add a heaping teaspoon of ground cumin and sauté one minute, or until fragrant.

3. Add one small onion, minced, and sauté until golden, about two minutes.

4. Add one small clove garlic, minced, and sauté about one minute.

5. Add one can chickpeas, drained, and sauté a minute or two more until just heated through.

6. Remove pan from heat and add one cup of finely chopped carrot greens.

7. Toss, then transfer to a serving bowl and season with lemon juice before serving.

Optional: Feel free to dice the actual carrots and add them when you add the onions. And if you’re feeling a tad indulgent, add a bit of feta, preferably made of Sheep’s milk.