If you are lucky enough to see carrots with their green tops still intact, you *need* to make carrot top pesto. Also, if you need a quick and easy vegan entree you *need* to make carrot top pesto. So basically, you need to make it. Enough said?
Carrot top greens are often overlooked or tossed. However, they make a bright and fresh spring pesto. If you haven’t tried carrot top pesto before, you’re in for a treat.
(Plus, why does basil get all of the love when it comes to pesto? Might as well save your basil for its many other uses if you can make an amazing pesto out of carrot tops.
Let’s get right to it:
Carrot Top Pesto
A bright and fresh Carrot Top Pesto made from fresh spring carrots
- 1 1/2 cups packed carrot top greens (stems removed if possible)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Steamed carrots
Rinse the carrot greens and make sure they are free from dirt and/or debris. Remove the thick stems and set aside; save the feathery tips for the pesto.
Add sorted and washed carrot greens to a food processor; add garlic and pine nuts; process until evenly chopped.
Slowly add in the olive oil and continue to process. (Add more olive oil if desired to make a thinner pesto.)
Add salt and taste to make sure flavors are balanced.
Toss with pasta and steamed carrots if desired.
A few tips on carrot greens: First, you’re going to want to make sure they’re thoroughly cleaned. That’s right, especially if they’re organic. Get all of that dirt, debris, and possibly even tiny critters out of there (sorry, but being realistic!).
Then you’re going to want to separate out the stems. We found that if we just slide our fingers along the stem, we can detach the feathery leaves from the stem, and then set the stem aside.
Furthermore, this pesto is vegan because we haven’t included any cheese in it. But you can definitely add cheese to the pesto, if that’s your thing. Alternatively, you can also just sprinkle some on top of the pesto.
Last but not least, you may want to adjust these proportions to taste. If you like a thinner pesto, add a little more olive oil. If you like a creamier pesto, add cashews instead of pine nuts. Additionally, if you want a smoother “green” feel, add a little bit of fresh spinach into the mix. It’s your pesto – you can make it how you like it.
P.S. Looking for another alternative pesto? Try this Arugula-Walnut Pesto (we served it with roasted carrots).
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