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Seasons’ Eatings: Boiled Beef Sandwich with Carrot Greens Pesto and Red Cabbage Carrot Slaw

2012 February 9

By Valeria Necchio

Cona (Venice), Italy – Greetings from very close to the most romantic city in the world! Need some suggestions for St. Valentines? We’ve got plenty! How about an intimate sandwich lunch for two? Yes? Well then, you’re in luck.

Relaying off Marc’s Vietnamese Spring Rolls was a bit of a challenge for me. The main reason is that most of the ingredients, from cilantro to sprouts, are not easy to find in the everyday Italian markets, let alone in small towns like the one I am currently living in. However, there were some other elements in his recipe that I could utilize: an ingredient (carrots), a technique (shredding), and the idea of enclosing all ingredients in an edible container. After some thinking and some ingredient sourcing, and with all these elements to play with, I decided to create a dish which recalls a traditional Italian winter recipe, bollito con bagnetto verde (aka boiled beef with green sauce). I made a boiled beef sandwich with carrot greens pesto and red cabbage carrot slaw.

My meat consumption is very moderate and restricted to local, grass-fed animals. I usually buy meat directly from a trusted local biodynamic farmer. He is lovely and his meat is great. In winter I generally buy some beef rump, which is lean and good for boiling, braising and long cooking in general. I happened to buy some last week, and then I followed the usual boiling procedure: I put the piece of meat in a big pan filled with cold water, added a carrot and an onion, turned on the heat and boiled it for two hours or so. Once ready I drained the meat, cut it in slices, and saved the stock for a future risotto. I then used the leftovers in various preparations in the following days. My recipe idea for boiled beef sandwich started from here, as I was shredding and storing some meat in the refrigerator.

CLICK HERE to get the full post and recipe!

Boiled beef is traditionally served with a series of sauces and dips including bagnetto verde, a parsley, oil, garlic and anchovy sauce. Unfortunately, this week I didn’t find any parsley at the local organic market stall from which I buy my weekly produce. I found carrots, with their bright green leaves still attached to the root, so I thought to make a carrot greens pesto to go with the shredded boiled beef instead. It is completely different from bagnetto verde, but it is very tasty nonetheless. To finalize my dish, I made a slaw with what remained of the carrots (the root) and some organic red cabbage I purchased from the same stall. I make my own bread using various well trusted recipes I found in books or online. For this recipe, I used some home-made seedy buns, but whatever good rustic bread or good buns you have on hand will work just as well.

Boiled Beef Sandwich with Carrot Greens Pesto and Red Cabbage Carrot Slaw

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 sandwiches


  • 4 home-made or store-bought buns or 8 crusty bread slices
  • 4 slices of boiled beef, shredded (I used beef rump)

For the carrot greens pesto

  • 3 cups carrot leaves
  • 3-4 small chunks of parmigiano reggiano (this recipe is pretty forgiving)
  • 2 Tablespoons organic lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons extra virgin love oil (best if new harvest)
  • 1 Tablespoon organic sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the red cabbage carrot slaw

  • 1/2 of a small organic red cabbage
  • 1 medium organic carrot
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon organic lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly crushed pepper to taste
  1. Prepare the pesto. Wash carrot greens carefully and drain. Place them in a blender, add salt, olive oil, lemon juice, parmigiano, sunflower seeds and garlic. Pulse until smooth and creamy.
  2. Prepare the slaw. Wash the carrot using a brush, rinse the cabbage. Shred the carrot using a carrot peeler or a food processor, or julienne them by hand. Cut cabbage in two halves and then cut each half in thin stripes.
  3. Mix carrot and cabbage in a medium bowl. Prepare the dressing combining lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil. Pour on top of the vegetables and toss well to coat.
  4. Toast the bread in a toaster, or in a hot oven for 3-5 minutes per side. If using buns, cut them in half before toasting.
  5. Assemble the sandwiches. Spread a generous spoonful of pesto on 4 toasted sandwich halves. Top with shredded boiled meat and finally the slaw. Cover with the other halves.
  6. The eco-friendly, extra-tasty winter sandwich is ready to be served.

Valeria Necchio graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences with a master’s degree and immediately took off on a path connecting her passions of good and healthy food, blogging and photography. Her spare time is divided between the weekly market, the park, and the kitchen.

  • Stephanie Tickner

    Well, I learned something new with your recipe, Valeria. I didn’t know one could eat carrot greens! I still haven’t had a chance to try the new-to-me kohlrabi from Sarah and Brianna’s recipes, and now I want to add carrot greens pesto to my list of new foods to try.

    I am a vegetarian, but your delicious-sounding sandwich could easily be adapted using a non-meat alternative to the beef. I love savory cabbage slaw on sandwiches.

    And finally, I have to say that your rolls look amazing! I love dense, seed filled breads. Do you share your bread recipes?

    • Valeria Necchio

      Of course you can, you can substitute the meat with a veggie patty or a seitan burger! That pesto is pretty versatile and matches pretty well with many things  –including pasta! The recipe for my rolls come from Heidi Swanson’s Hide Bread! I just love how they turn out!

      • Stephanie Tickner

         I love her Supernatural Everyday cookbook. Thanks for letting me know what recipe you used. I just bookmarked it to try myself.

        • Valeria Necchio

          I love it too, and already cooked almost all the recipes. You are much welcome!

  • Marc Duquette

    I love the international exchange of ideas. Carrot greens? Boiling meat? Something new to try. The seedy bread looks delicious as does the finished sandwich. Great photos.

    • Valeria Necchio

      Thanks Marc! I loved the brainstorming around the creation of the recipe too, and it was very fun to relay off yours!

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