No-Waste Carrot Greens Soup
Carrot Greens Soup, an easy soup recipe using carrot greens to reduce food waste. Simple, tasty, and the perfect soup for an easy lunch or weeknight meal!
Have you cooked with carrot tops? If not, don’t throw out another bunch of carrot leaves because they’re actually edible…and delicious in sauces, smoothies, and soups!
👉 Here’s why you should make this easy vegetable soup with carrot greens:
- It’s delicious! The first and foremost reason is because it just tastes good. With tons of flavor from onions, celery, garlic, and the greens, it’s a basic but savory soup you’ll love.
- It helps reduce food waste. Most people throw out carrot tops without a second thought. This recipe was created to help you put those carrot leaves to use in a delicious way.
- It can be made on the stovetop, pressure cooker, or Instant Pot. We’ve included three ways to cook this soup, so it can be made in as little as 10 minutes in the pressure cooker or one hour for a low and slow cooker experience.
Ready to learn how to use carrot greens in this easy plant-based soup? Let’s do it
👩🍳 How to make on the stovetop (step-by-step)
1️⃣ Step One: Prep carrot tops
First, cut the carrot leaves from the stems. Wash the carrot root, cut into small slices, and then set aside for the soup.
Cut carrot greens from the stem and place in a colander and run under water, rinsing well to remove any dirt. Remove any hard stems, reserving the soft carrot leaves.
🥕 Carrot tops tip! Check out our full guide for more in-depth info on How to Wash Carrot Greens.
2️⃣ Step Two: Start the soup
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add diced onion, celery, and the reserved sliced carrots to the pot and cook until the onions and celery begin to soften, about 6-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant (about 1-2 minutes more).
3️⃣ Step Three: Simmer the soup
Next, add drained white beans, bay leaves, vegetable broth, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the soup pot and increase heat to bring the soup to a boil.
Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer and simmer for 30 minutes to let the vegetables release their flavor.
4️⃣ Step Four: Add carrot tops and serve
Finally, remove the soup from the heat and stir in the carrot greens. Add red pepper flakes and more salt and pepper, if needed.
Serve and enjoy immediately, or cool and store in the refrigerator or freeze for later use.
🥣 How to make in the slow cooker or the Instant Pot
This soup is also an easy option in both the slow cooker and in a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot.
- Slow cooker instructions: Add the oil, onion, celery, carrots, white beans, bay leaves, broth, and salt and pepper to the pot. Cook on medium for 1 hour, then stir in carrot leaves and season to taste before serving.
- Pressure cooker instructions: Add the oil, onion, celery, and carrots to the pot and, using saute setting, cook until vegetables begin to soften. Then add the beans, bay leaves, broth, salt, and pepper, and cook on the high pressure soup setting for 10 minutes. Remove lid carefully, stir in the carrot greens, and season before serving.
❓ Recipe questions + quick tips
Carrot stems are edible and can be eaten. In fact, they’re delicious in sauces like pestos or chimichurri, in soups or to season vegetable broths, and even sautéed as a side dish. They are in the same family as parsley and cilantro and have an herby, earthy flavor.
Carrot leaves are a healthy leafy green that can be added to soups, salads, smoothies, and sauces. They are high in vitamin K, vitamin A, and have about 90 calories per serving (USDA Food Nutrient Database).
You do not need to peel carrots before cooking, the outside of carrots is edible. In fact, carrot peels are high in fiber and nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. However, since carrots are a root vegetable and they grow in the dirt, it’s important to give them a good wash before serving.
If you’ve already cut the carrot leaves from the stems, stick the stem directly into a glass of water to keep them hydrated. If the greens are stem attached to the stems and carrot root (the orange part we typically eat), stick the actual carrot into water and it will absorb and keep the greens fresh.
Carrot tops, carrot stems, and the root of the carrot (the part we eat) are great for flavoring soup stocks. Simple place them in a pot with other scrap vegetables, fill with water, season with salt and herbs, and and simmer for one hour. Check out our Carrot Top Vegetable Broth for the full recipe.
♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips and tricks
Want to be a more sustainable cook (and eater?). Here are a few tips for making this recipe even more eco-friendly:
- Take advantage of carrot season. The best time of year to cook soup with carrot greens is when carrots are in season. Luckily this is all year where we are in California, but you can look up where carrot tops are in season in your area on Seasonal Food Guide’s produce season calendar.
- Reuse carrot scraps in vegetable broth. Make this recipe even more sustainable by using any carrot scraps (stems, peels, leaves, ends of the roots) to flavor Carrot Top Vegetable Broth.
- Make a big batch of soup for later. This soup is perfect for big batch cooking! Use the recipe card below to increase the serving size for the ingredient amounts needed to make a large pot and freeze for future use.
🥕 More recipes using carrot greens
We LOVE using obscure ingredients and root-to-stem cooking techniques to reduce our food waste and be more sustainable eaters. Here are a few other ideas for using up carrot tops:
- Carrot Top Pesto
- Carrot Top Chimichurri
- Sautéed Carrot Greens
- Carrot Top Vegetable Broth
- Carrot Top Pesto Pasta
- Carrot Top Smoothie
👉 Want more recipes using non-traditional greens? Try our easy pan-fried radish greens!
Carrot Greens Soup Recipe
- 1 bunch carrots, with leaves
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 stalks celery, with leaves, sliced
- 3 whole garlic cloves, minced
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- Optional: carrot top pesto for garnish
- Prepare carrots and carrot tops: Cut carrot root from the stem*. Wash the root and slice into small slices and set aside. Cut the carrot greens from the stem and place in a colander or bowl to wash, rinse well to remove excess dirt, then set aside to dry (about 20 minutes). Once dry, remove any hard stems from carrot leaves.
- Prep and cook vegetables: To a large soup pot over medium heat, add oil. After oil is heated, add diced onion, celery slices, and reserved sliced carrots to the pot and cook until onions and celery start to soften and carrots begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook 2 minutes more, until it begins to brown and become fragrant.
- Simmer soup: Add bay leaves and vegetable broth, white beans, and a pinch of salt and pepper and increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
- Serve soup: When soup has cooked for 30 minutes, remove from heat and stir in carrot greens. Add red pepper flakes and more salt and pepper to taste. Add a dollop of carrot top pesto, if desired.
- Slow Cooker Cooking Instructions: Add the oil, onion, celery, carrots, white beans, bay leaves, broth, and salt and pepper to the pot. Cook on medium for 1 hour, then stir in carrot leaves and season to taste before serving
- Instant Pot Cooking Instructions: Add the oil, onion, celery, and carrots to the pot and, using sauté setting, cook until vegetables begin to soften. Then add the beans, bay leaves, broth, salt, and pepper, and cook on the high pressure soup setting for 10 minutes. Remove lid carefully, stir in the carrot greens, and season before serving.
- Recipe notes: *Carrot stems are edible, however they are sometimes very tough and do not soften well when cooked, even in soups. Instead of throwing carrot stems out, you can add to soup stocks for extra flavor, like in our carrot top vegetable broth. In this recipe you can add the stems to the broth and then remove before serving (use a twine to tie them together for easy removal).
- Tools Needed: knife set, cutting board, colander or large mixing bowl, large soup pot
- Prep Ahead: Wash, cut, and dry carrots and carrot leaves up to a day before serving. We do not recommend washing and drying carrot leaves too far ahead of cooking because they will become wilted. To prevent wilting of cut carrot leaves, place the stems in a cup of water in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.
- Leftovers and Storage: To store leftovers, first bring soup to room temperature and then store in airtight containers. This soup will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days and in the freezer for up to 2-3 months (or more). To rethaw, simply thaw in refrigerator overnight or on the counter for a few hours before reheating.
- Nutrition notes: This simple vegetable soup with carrot greens is completely plant-based (or vegan), gluten-free, and contains a small amount of oil that you can substitute with water if you’re looking for an oil-free soup recipe. It is high in fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Nutrition was calculated without optional pesto garnish.
UPDATE: This recipe was originally posted in July 2020 and was updated with clearer instructions in August 2021.