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Meet the Columnist: Root-to-Leaf with Hannah Green

Recipes for reducing food waste

Carrots are a versatile vegetable
Carrots are a versatile vegetable
By Hannah Green CDN Contributor

Hello! My name is Hannah. I’m a new columnist for Cascadia Daily News with a focus on root-to-leaf cooking, using local, seasonal ingredients.

Each month I’ll focus on a single ingredient that’s in season, grown and available locally, and that has far more than one use. This is my take on “nose-to-tail” cooking, which many cooks will be familiar with already: making use of an entire animal, not just the popular cuts, as a way to reduce food waste, follow a frugal budget and show respect for the land and its stewards. “Root-to-leaf” applies these principles to fruits and vegetables, using the greens, roots, peels, stems, flowers and everything in between. Above all, this approach is rewarding and delicious.

I also work at Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants, in the heart of downtown Bellingham. Along with helping to pair wines for every recipe and palate, I’ve written about wine in the store’s weekly newsletter for the last two years. One of my favorite things is sharing curated and often imaginative recipes with our readers. Outside of the shop, I’m in my kitchen.

Through this monthly column, I hope to hold space for curiosity, adaptability and an openness to the unexpected. Whatever the season or ingredient, this root-to-leaf approach will encourage readers and cooks to look at the discard pile on their cutting boards and feel inspired.

Recipe for Seared Carrot Ribbons

I love this preparation for its contrast to winter recipes that involve braising, stewing or roasting. Even in January and February we can enjoy fresh produce that takes just minutes to prepare. Concentrated sweetness, a tender bite, and a rousing douse of lime juice and flaky salt make this a refreshing alternative to heavier dishes while celebrating the essence of the root.

4 medium carrots
Avocado oil
Fresh limes
Sea salt or other flaky salt

Directions: Scrub carrots and use a mandolin or sharp knife to slice into 1/8-inch strips. Bring a cast iron or nonstick skillet to medium-high heat with a thin layer of avocado oil or other neutral oil. Once the oil is shimmering, lay the carrot slices flat onto the skillet. Sear for about four minutes, without turning, until carrots are evenly browned on the bottom and barely translucent on the top. Flip and cook the second side for another four minutes until the bottom is caramelized; some light charring around the edges is normal, and will balance nicely with the carrots’ natural sugars. The carrots will be tender while retaining a bite when finished. Remove from pan; squeeze lime generously over the carrots, and sprinkle with sea salt to taste. These carrots are mouthwatering straight from the pan, and are also delicious at room temperature. Makes two main-dish servings or four side-dish servings.

Menu ideas: Serve with black rice, warm goat cheese, baked fingerling potatoes or quinoa salad. Add red pepper flakes or hot honey for a hint of heat.

Recipe for Carrot Top Chimichurri

Intensely bright and almost bracing, carrot top chimichurri has the peppery bite of arugula and ample acidity to complement nearly any rich or meaty dish. This Argentinian condiment is typically made with a bundle of fresh herbs, garlic, vinegar, and sometimes an element of heat, and is wonderfully versatile.

Carrot tops from one bunch of carrots, cleaned and finely chopped (roughly one chopped cup)
1/2 cup olive oil or any neutral finishing oil, such as avocado or walnut
2 tbsp white wine vinegar (can substitute apple cider vinegar or diluted white vinegar)
2–4 cloves of garlic, according to your preference
1 small jalapeno, chopped
1/4 cup chopped scallions
Sea salt or other flaky salt

Directions: Finely chop carrot tops with a sharp knife, or run them through a food processor. In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, jalapeño and scallions; stir in the chopped greens. Slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking or beating with a fork to combine, until the consistency is unified and pours easily. Add salt to taste, and adjust garlic and vinegar to preference. Makes one-and-a-half cups.

SubstitutionsSub one tablespoon of red pepper flakes for every jalapeño, or one tablespoon of fresh microplane ginger; ginger is a good choice if you’re serving this with pork shoulder, tofu dishes or anything with soy sauce. Fresh scallions are my go-to here, but thyme, cilantro or parsley would all be delightful. Use equal quantities.

Menu ideas: This sauce is fabulous spooned over carrot ribbons. Also serve with broiled flank steak or chicken breast, swirl into carrot or butternut squash soup, or drizzle over provoleta (thick, toasted provolone cheese). Stir into Greek yogurt for a vegetable dip, or add a little cream and toss with pasta.

Wine pairings: Pair carrot ribbons and carrot top chimichurri with an Argentinian Torrontes for its textural crispness and refreshing acidity, or a grassy Sauvignon Blanc to complement the dish’s herbal qualities. If serving alongside steak or short ribs, an Argentinian Malbec with its plump fruit, earthy finish and smooth tannins can’t be beat.

Hannah Green will be sharing tips and recipes related to the root-to-leaf movement on a monthly basis. Reach her at

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