In one of our weekly CSA deliveries, we received a big bunch of carrots with the leafiest green tops. There’s some fuss online about carrot tops being poisonous, but some online research soon confirmed that’s not true. Carrot tops are not only edible, but loaded with vitamins. The challenge is managing the bitterness of the greens.
On the same day I found myself wondering how I could use up those carrot greens, a Food52 recipe for making greens into meatballs popped up on my Facebook feed. Perfecto! I used all the carrot greens available and substituted a couple items, and the mixture was easy to form into meatballs. They disappeared quickly because they were so good, even just with ketchup. Gotta love them balls!
Carrot Greens & Scallion Meat(less)balls
Recipe from Food52 – Substituted ingredients in the version below
1 bunch carrot greens
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 scallion stalks, green and white parts chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup cilantro
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
1 or 2 eggs
Cooking spray for frying
Pulse greens in a food processor or finely chop with a knife — they should be small but not puréed or mushy. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the oil, scallions, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cilantro, and cumin. Stir for 30 seconds.
Add greens to pan and sauté for a minute or two, until they have wilted. Turn the mixture into a large bowl.
Let cool for five minutes, then add the breadcrumbs and cheese. Mix well, then taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if necessary — this is your chance to get the seasoning right while the mixture is egg-free. Crack one egg into the bowl and mix with your hands to incorporate. Squeeze a small ball of the mixture. If it holds together, begin portioning out the remaining mixture into small balls. If it doesn’t hold together, add another egg.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add balls to pan — they should sizzle when they hit the oil — then turn heat down to medium or medium-low. Cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Use a fork to flip the balls to the other side and cook for another 2 minutes or so. Serve immediately or at room temperature.