This is one hard working condiment. Essentially a bulked-up chimichurri, a pile of carrot greens are lightly steamed with cilantro and blended up with jalapeno, a bunch of garlic sauteed in olive oil, tender roasted pumpkin, and a healthy dose of fragrant za'atar. The result is a bit creamy from the pumpkin, but crisp and fresh from the lightly treated greens. It's the perfect way to clean out your fridge (because whatever's in there tastes great with garlic and za'atar) and is about as versatile as it gets.
We tossed it with whole wheat orzo, but there aren't too
many grains, legumes, or veggies this won't perk up. Plus, with all that
green and orange, it's a great way to boost the nutrition of any meal. We've even used it as a sandwich spread and a soup base.
This makes a big batch, just the thing to blend up and keep on hand in the fridge to pull out a serving or two at a time over the next few days. Naturally, you can substitute the carrots from your greens for some of the pumpkin, but as you can see above, the young carrots we had were too pretty to be pureed. And of course, any winter squash should work in place of pumpkin.
Again, this is a great way to use up extra winter squash and greens that don't always get put to use, but there's no reason spinach and canned pumpkin or squash shouldn't produce good results if convenience is your priority. But maybe the biggest advantage of home-roasted pumpkin is that the toasted seeds make a terrific garnish on top of any grain or bean you toss this sauce with.
Garlicky Za'atar-Spiced Carrot Greens and Roasted Pumpkin Sauce
yields about 2 1/2 cups
greens from 8 young carrots, washed, tough stems removed
1 bunch cilantro, tough stems removed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup za'atar
1 large jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
juice of 1 lime
2 cups roughly mashed roasted pumpkin, or other winter squash, flesh (from about 1/2 small pumpkin, about 7 inches in diameter)
1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
Bring two inches of water to a boil covered with a steamer basket. Place the carrot greens in the basket, top with the cilantro, cover, and steam for 2 minutes, until lightly wilted and bright green. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the S blade.
Heat the oil gently in a small pan. Add the garlic and cook, without browning, until softened, 5 minutes. Remove from heat, carefully stir in the za'atar and allow to cool for a minute before adding to the food processor along with all the other ingredients.
Puree, scraping the bowl every half minute or so, for 3 to 4 minutes, until very smooth. Adjust seasoning.
Reheat leftovers on the stove top, thinning with a little vegetable broth, as needed.