Eats Shoots and Leaves: Vegetable Leaves Are on the Menu

Chefs aren’t leaving leaves behind any longer. They used to throw them in the stockpot, the compost, or – worst of all – the trash, but it turns out the greens are full of flavor. Here are six restaurants where vegetable leaves are on the menu.

Ocean Prime, Washington, D.C.
The meaty ahi tuna Rossini sits in a truffle reduction, its earthiness amplified by caramelized mushrooms. Seared foie gras crowns the kingly dish. Brussels sprouts leaves add a burst of herbal nuttiness and a flash of color. Make a reservation at Ocean Prime.

vegetables leaves are on the menu

Herons, Cary, North Carolina
Not your average beet salad by any stretch of the imagination. Rich red orbs of the root vegetable are dressed up with dark purple wild oxalis leaves and their dainty white blossoms. Juice from the leaves helps create the stunning translucent red “veil.” Make a reservation at Herons.

vegetable leaves are on the menu

Herb & Wood, San Diego, California
From root to shoot. Roasted baby carrots are complemented by a pesto made of carrot tops, contributing a pleasantly grassy pop. Aleppo pepper yogurt and cashew sesame dukkah (Egyptian spice blend) fill out the presentation. Make a reservation at Herb & Wood.

Vegetable leaves are on the menu

Perrine, New York, New York
This unconventional pizza has Indian roots. That’s because it’s built on a round of naan bread. Celery fronds accent the pie bedecked with roasted tricolor cauliflower, capers, and parmesan. Make a reservation at Perrine.

vegetable leaves are on the menu

Shaker + Spear, Seattle, Washington
This dish offers comfort to the core. Cippolini onions, peas, roasted baby carrots, and green pea dumplings bob in the chicken-fortified broth, while chicken skin cracklins and fried carrot tops add crunch. Not exactly how mom used to make it, but it’s just as heartwarming. Make a reservation at Shaker + Spear.

vegetable leaves are on the menu

Dirty Habit, Washington, D.C.
This ain’t routine poutine. Poached lobster and shrimp sitting on crisped up potatoes are blanketed with melted Gruyere and lobster béchamel sauce. A scattering of fresh celery leaves helps cut through the intense richness. Make a reservation at Dirty Habit.

vegetable leaves are on the menu

Where have you been seeing vegetable leaves adorning your dish? Tell us where here or over on FacebookG+InstagramPinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.

Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.

Photo credits: Ashfer Biju (Perrine); Neil Boyd (Herons); Justin McChesney-Wachs (Herb & Wood).