Carrot Top Pesto

Don't toss them! Keep those pretty green tops for a delicious treat.

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Carrot Top Pesto

Carrot Top Pesto

Save those carrot tops to make a delicious pesto.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Makes about 12 ounces of pesto

Ingredients

  • handful of carrot tops
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 large garlic cloves (depending on your taste preferences)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons macadamia nuts, toasted (you can use pine nuts or walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Helpful Equipment

  • food processor
  • salad spinner
  • frying pan
Carrot Top Pesto Ingredients

Carrot Top Pesto Ingredients

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Leafy greens are one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. Kale, collards and spinach get all the attention for their greeny goodness. But what about carrot tops? Yes, these overlooked leafy greens are often cut off of carrots and tossed before they even make it to the produce section of your local grocery store. Carrot tops, like the tops of many root vegetables, are often more nutritious than the root themselves.

What do carrot tops taste like? It’s similar to parsley in texture, but tastes like a very concentrated carrot. Carrot tops are delicious in soups, salads, sandwiches and as pesto. The next time you are shopping at your local farmers' market and see fresh carrots with their tops, snag a bunch.

Carrot Top Pesto Toasting Nuts

Carrot Top Pesto Toasting Nuts

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Toast the Nuts

Toasting nuts first will bring out their flavor. Spread the nuts in a single layer in a frying pan. Toast until fragrant and lightly browned; about 5 to 10 minutes. Let them cool. 

Carrot Top Pesto Leaves

Carrot Top Pesto Leaves

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Prep Carrot Tops

Wash the carrot tops and dry on paper towels or with a salad spinner. Remove the carrot tops from the large main stem. If some of the smaller stems are left in, that’s fine. Once the stems are removed, measure out a cup of loosely packed leaves. 

Carrot Top Pesto Ingredients in Food Processor

Carrot Top Pesto Ingredients in Food Processor

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Combine

Add the carrot tops, toasted macadamia nuts and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. 

Carrot Top Pesto Paste

Carrot Top Pesto Paste

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Add Oil

Add the olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Blend until the mixture forms a paste. 

Carrot Top Pesto on Roasted Carrots

Carrot Top Pesto on Roasted Carrots

Carrot top pesto tastes great on roasted carrots.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Enjoy

Toss the carrot top pesto with pasta or on top of roasted carrots. The pesto will last in the refrigerator for about a week or frozen for up to a year. Add a layer of olive oil to the top of the pesto before storing.

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