Vegetable Top Salad with Walnut Dressing

I love the “nose to tail” vegetable concept behind this salad. You just have to be careful: The flavor of vegetable tops varies from batch to batch. One bunch of carrot tops can have grassy, lovely, tart flavors. One bunch of beets can have super-sweet tops. Then all that can change. You have to taste the tops and make sure they are on point. When you shop for this salad, you want to know about the tops more than the vegetables they are attached to! You are also, hopefully, going to use those tops that are hanging around in your fridge. If you have some droopy tops, refresh them by soaking them in cold water for 20 to 30 minutes. Then dry them and use a scissors to cut them right into the salad. You also need a “classic” green with a tender texture, like peppery arugula, mixed in to act as a home base for all the flavors. The walnuts are best when crushed from whole pieces and left untoasted here. They add to the richness of the dressing and round out the bitter edges from the vegetable tops.

Vegetable Top Salad with Walnut Dressing



  • 1 cup walnut halves 
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar 
  • 2 teaspoons cognac 
  • ¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes 
  • Kosher salt 
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 cup fresh arugula 
  • 3 cups vegetable tops and fresh herbs (such as ½ cup carrot tops, ½ cup parsley leaves, and 2 cups beet tops; you can also mix in other greens like Swiss chard and kale, trimmed of stems and coarsely chopped) 
  • 1 tablespoon honey 
  • ½ cup finely grated pecorino cheese


  1. Step 1

    MAKE THE DRESSING: Place the walnuts in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to lightly crush them into smaller pieces. Transfer them to a large bowl and whisk in the vinegar, cognac, red pepper flakes, and a generous pinch of salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Taste for seasoning.

    Step 2

    MAKE THE SALAD: In a serving bowl, toss the arugula and the vegetable tops with almost all of the dressing. Drizzle with the honey and sprinkle with the cheese. Serve in the bowl, family-style, or individually plated. Top with the remaining dressing so people can see the nuts right away. Serve immediately.

Reprinted with permission from Cook with Me: 150 Recipes for the Home Cook by Alex Guarnaschelli, copyright © 2020. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photography copyright: Johnny Miller © 2020


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