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!

three glass jars of homemade broth on a table with carrots and a blue pot

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:

  1. 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.
  2. It reduces food waste. Most people throw out carrot greens, so save them from the trash by letting them flavor your broths.
  3. 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!

carrots with green tops, onion, salt, and a measuring cup with water on a white table
Ingredients: carrot tops, onion, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, water

How to make (step-by-step)

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).

sliced carrot tops on a white cutting board
Cut carrot tops where stems begin to harden

Place the carrot greens on the stems in a colander or bowl and rinse well to remove excess dirt.

cut carrot greens in a colander with running water
Wash carrot greens to remove excess dirt

Step Two: Simmer the broth

Add the carrot tops, salt and pepper, and any other vegetables, herbs, and spices to a large soup pot.

carrot leaves, carrot peels, onion, garlic, and celery in a large soup pot on a white table
Add vegetable to pot

Add water and bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 45 minutes.

water pouring into a soup pot filled with vegetables and herbs
Fill the pot with double the amount of water to vegetables
carrot tops in boiling water in a blue soup pot
Bring to a boil, then 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.


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.

a spoon lifting carrot tops out of a soup pot
Remove the vegetable and save for compost

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.

vegetable broth in a glass jar on a table with carrot greens

Recipe and ingredient questions

Are carrot tops edible?

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.

How much water should I use in homemade vegetable broth?

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.

What food scraps can I use in vegetable 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.

What types of carrots are best for stock?

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.

What types of vegetables, herbs, and spices are good for flavoring homemade broth?

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.

a glass jar of vegetable broth made from carrot tops on a white table with carrots with green leaves in the foreground

Sustainable kitchen tips, tricks, and tools

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!)
three glass jars of vegetable broth in a row on a white table

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:

Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let us know how it turned out. Save it for later by pinning to your favorite soups Pinterest board and make sure to tag me on Fork in the Road’s Instagram to show me your carrot top creations!

Yield: 12 cups

Carrot Tops Vegetable Broth Recipe

vegetable broth in a glass jar on a table with carrot greens

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!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch (4 ounces, 113 grams) carrots with stems and greens
  • 1 onion, peel removed
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup carrot peels (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 cups (96 ounces, 2.8 liters) water
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Optional flavorings: Other dried or fresh herbs, any spices on hand (if adding more vegetables, add more water)

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Notes

  • 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: 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.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 38Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 56mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g