Budget Tip: The Best Substitute for Fresh Parsley

published Mar 16, 2015
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: images72)

Do you find yourself buying bunches of fresh parsley that you never seem to use up? Well, here’s a handy substitute: carrot tops.

Buying carrots with the tops still on at the grocery store or farmers market will give you a two-for-one bonus — sweet carrots and flavorful tops.

No joke, carrots and parsley are botanically related, and their leaves have a similarly sweet, refreshing flavor. (And should you find them, parsley roots are great for roasting or cooking much like parsnips.)

But wait — aren’t carrot tops poisonous? Yes, You Can Eat Carrot Tops. No, They’re Not Poisonous!

Carrot greens tend to be a little more tough than fresh parsley, however. Because we usually encounter these leaves as a byproduct of carrot roots, the leaves have somewhat outgrown their ideal tenderness. But often, bunches of small, slender, younger carrots come with a healthy flush of feathery, green leaves that are perfectly fine for chopping up as a parsley substitute.

Making a tabbouleh salad and need tons of parsley? Swap in some finely chopped carrot greens—no one will notice. Need just a pinch of parsley to top your pasta? Take a snip from the top of your bunch of carrots. They’re incredibly nutritious, just like parsley, one of the densest herbs in vitamins and minerals around.

You can also cook carrot greens, such as braising or stewing them in soups. But sneaking them into places where parsley would be is practical, cost-efficient, and just fun.

Use your carrot greens in this recipe: Roast Chicken with Fennel, Carrots, and Gremolata