Carrot Tops Vegetable Broth, a food waste recovery recipe using carrot greens in homemade soup stock. The perfect way to use up unused carrot leaves while also stocking up for soup season!
Do you throw out carrot greens? Stop! Those stems and leaves are a delicious way to spice up soups, sauces, and smoothies while also reducing food waste. In fact, we love using carrot greens in homemade vegetable stocks and soups for a rich, herby flavor.
👉 Here’s why you should use carrot tops in your homemade broths and soups:
- Yup, carrot tops are edible. Though bitter in taste, the leaves on carrots are perfectly edible and are in fact delicious in broths, sauces, and dips.
- It reduces food waste. Most people throw out carrot greens, so save them from the trash by letting them flavor your broths.
- Making homemade broths is easy and saves you money. Vegetable broth is simply water with vegetables for flavoring — so stop spending money on it and make your own instead!
Ready to learn how to make this so-easy, 4-ingredient homemade stock with carrot tops to reduce food waste and save money? Let’s do it!
🥣 How to make (step-by-step)
1️⃣ Step One: Cut, wash, and dry carrot greens
Cut carrot roots from the stems, reserving the stem and leaves for the vegetable broth. Save the carrot root for another dish (try our Harissa Pan-Roasted Carrots), or you can slice them and add to the broth for extra flavor (or if you only have carrot peels, add the peels to the broth).
Place the carrot greens on the stems in a colander or bowl and rinse well to remove excess dirt.
2️⃣ Step Two: Simmer the broth
Add the carrot tops, salt and pepper, and any other vegetables, herbs, and spices to a large soup pot.
Add water and bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 45 minutes.
👉 How much water do you need for homemade broth? It depends, but for the best broth flavor typically you’ll need about twice the amount of water to the amount of vegetables used to season the broth. For example, we used 6 cups (48 ounces) of carrots greens and other vegetables to season this broth so we used 12 cups (96 ounces, 2.8 liters) of water.
3️⃣ Step Three: Strain the broth and serve, or save for later use
Once the broth has cooked, remove the pot from the heat and let cool. Then strain the carrot leaves and other vegetables out, reserving the broth.
Store the stock in glass containers in glass containers and use in soups and stews, as well as for cooking beans or grains.
👉 How long does homemade broth stay fresh? If stored in airtight containers, it can last up to four days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months (and possibly longer) in the freezer.
❓ Recipe + ingredient questions
Carrot tops are edible. Carrots are in the same family as parsley, and their leaves are similar in taste but more bitter, which is why many people believe they are not edible. However, they are delicious in sauces like carrot greens pesto, carrot top chimichurri, and even sautéed on their own as a side dish.
Use about twice as much water as vegetables in your soup pot. This means if you have four cups of vegetables in your broth, double the water amount for 8 cups of broth. This ensures that the amount of vegetables will bring flavor to the broth, as using too much water compared to vegetables and herbs may mean a bland broth.
Any food scraps are delicious in broths, such as carrot and onion peels, garlic bulbs, celery scraps, and leftover greens and lettuces. However, steer clear of stone fruit cores (peaches, plums, etc.), banana peels, avocado seeds and peels, and rhubarb and tomato leaves (which can lead to digestive problems). Here’s how to make vegetable broth from food scraps.
Any types of carrots with thick leaves are great for homemade broths. We typically find tendersweets and touchons in our local grocery stores and they have thick, delicious carrot leaves that lend great flavor to homemade stocks.
Using aromatic vegetables like onions, scallions, shallots, and garlic are best for flavoring homemade broths because they bring a lot of flavor to the water. We also like using fresh and dried herbs (bay leaves are a must), mustard or caraway seeds, and different types of salts and peppers to add extra flavor.
♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips
We believe a greener planet begins on our plates and in the kitchen. Here are a few sustainable kitchen tips to make this recipe even more eco-friendly:
- Save your scraps for vegetable broth. Place a small bin in your refrigerator and toss in vegetable scraps throughout the week to use when it’s time to make homemade soup stock.
- Compost the leftover vegetables from homemade stocks. After draining out the finished broth, compost the leftover vegetables to use as soil fertilizer in your backyard or kitchen herb garden.
- Reuse glass food jars to store broth in the refrigerator or freezer. Save empty glass jars to store homemade broth (find out how to easily remove labels from jars with only natural ingredients!)
- Store carrots properly to keep them fresh. Carrots are generally a shelf stable vegetable but do tend to go bad after a week or two. Check out our full guide for 4 ways to store carrots to increase how long they stay fresh.
🥕 More recipes using carrot greens
We love using carrot greens in sauces, soups, and pastas. Here are a few of our favorite ways to reduce carrot greens food waste:
- Pesto made from carrot tops
- Chimichurri sauce with carrot greens
- Simple pan-fried carrot greens as a side dish
- An easy carrot green pesto pasta dish
- A white bean and carrot greens soup (use this broth in the recipe!)
Carrot Tops Vegetable Broth Recipe
- 1 bunch carrots with stems and leaves
- 1 medium onion peel removed
- 4 whole celery stalks
- 4 whole garlic cloves
- 1 cup carrot peels optional
- 2 single bay leaves
- 12 cups water
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- Optional: Other dried or fresh herbs, any spices on hand
- Prepare carrot greens: Cut carrots roots from stem, reserving carrot leaves and stem for broth. Save the carrot root for another dish, or you can add them to the broth (or if you only have carrot peels, add the peels to the broth). Place the carrot greens on the stems in a colander or bowl and rinse well to remove excess dirt.
- Simmer the broth: Add the carrot greens, onion, celery, garlic, bay leaves, water, salt and pepper, and any other optional vegetables, herbs, and spices to a large soup pot. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Strain the broth: Once cooked, remove from heat and let cool and then strain the vegetables* and reserve the broth in a glass container to use for soups and for cooking beans or grains.
- Recipe notes: *Carrot stems are edible, however they are often very tough to chew. We use them in broths to bring flavor to the dish but then remove before serving the broth. **Compost strained vegetables, if possible.
- Tools needed: large soup pot, knife set, cutting board, large glass jars for storage
- Storage tips: Store broth in the refrigerator if using within 4 days, otherwise freeze broth in glass jars for 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for a few hours before using.
- Nutrition notes: This homemade vegetable broth recipe is completely plant-based and uses food scraps, which reduces your overall household food waste. If made with only a pinch of salt, it is also low in sodium.
UPDATE: This recipe was originally posted in July 2020 and was updated with new information in August 2021.