Carrot Top Pesto
Don't toss them! Keep those pretty green tops for a delicious treat.
Makes about 12 ounces of pesto
- 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
- food processor
- salad spinner
- frying pan
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.
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.
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.
Add the carrot tops, toasted macadamia nuts and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
Add the olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Blend until the mixture forms a paste.
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.