Whole Carrot–Lentil Salad

This recipe highlights the various flavors and textures the humble carrot has to offer, from crunchy raw rounds, to caramelized roasted pieces, to the plentiful and often discarded herbaceous green tops.


Carrots and Lentils:

  • 1 bunch carrots, tops reserved for pesto
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo chile flakes, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup black lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 4–5 sprigs cilantro, chopped
  • 4–5 sprigs mint, chopped
  • 4–5 sprigs parsley, chopped

Toasted Seeds:

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil


  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 tangerine or orange
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange flower water (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper to taste

Carrot Top Pesto:

  • 2 cups carrot top leaves (tops of 1 bunch of carrots)
  • 2–4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds from recipe above
  • Salt to taste


Prepare the carrots: preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice half the carrots into thin coins and set in cold water. Refrigerate.

Cut the other half of the carrots into 1/2-inch rounds and place them on a baking sheet. Toss the carrots with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo chile, cumin seeds, and a little black pepper. Cover the baking sheet with foil and roast the carrots in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and, if carrots are not browned, broil for 2 to 3 minutes until caramelized. Remove from oven and set aside.

Prepare the lentils: In a medium saucepot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the red onion and cook for about 2 minutes or until translucent. Add the lentils and 2 cups water; lower heat to simmer. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, adding more water as necessary. Season with the remaining salt, Aleppo chile, and black pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Prepare the toasted seeds: lower the oven to 325°F. Toss all of the ingredients together on a baking sheet and toast the seeds, stirring them every 5 minutes. Cook until the seeds smell nutty and are golden brown, about 15 minutes total.

Make the vinaigrette: whisk or blend all of the ingredients together. Set aside.

Prepare the pesto: blanch the carrot top leaves and garlic in boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and rinse under cold water, squeezing out the moisture from the carrot tops. Combine the blanched carrot top leaves and garlic, olive oil, and toasted seeds with a pinch of salt in a blender. Check the seasoning.

To serve, drain the raw carrot coins well and toss in a large bowl with 1/4 cup vinaigrette. Add the roasted carrots and toss again. Add the lentils and a bit more of the vinaigrette and gently toss to combine.

Place about 1/2 cup of pesto on a plate and top with lentils and carrot salad. Sprinkle on the remaining toasted seeds and garnish with the cilantro, mint, and parsley.


From Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food by The James Beard Foundation/Rizzoli Publishing.


4 servings

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