After you use up all those carrots making side dishes or carrot cake for Easter, save the tops and make a delicious spring pesto!
Normally I am all about finding ways to use every last bit of food to reduce waste. I save a ton of veggie scraps in the freezer to make homemade veggie stock (a trick I learned from @plant_brat), I regrow my green onions by putting the white rooted ends in water, and repurpose leftovers into new meals. So it was an obvious idea to make pesto out of the carrot tops that were not used in the two carrot recipes I made for the Easter menu I’ve been slowly sharing this year.
The only problem? Most carrots in grocery stores are sold without the tops these days! I had to go out of my way and go to another grocery store to actually find carrots with tops just so I could find a purpose for those tops. How silly does that sound? I wonder what the suppliers of all those bald carrots do with the greenery? I hope it is fed to bunnies or another animal and not wasted. At least I can say for certain that these ones were eaten and with pleasure!
So if you happen to require carrots for a recipe on your Easter menu this year (may I suggest carrot cake), go ahead and keep an eye out for the carrots with luscious locks of green hair and make this pesto as well. Spoiler alert: it will go great with the potato recipe I am sharing on Friday ;-). And it’s pesto so you can literally use it on most anything, or freeze it if you want to save it for later.
To keep you up to date, here’s the Easter Menu I’ve shared thus far (updated as I post more):
- Apricot-Honey Glazed Ham
- Black Pepper Parmesan Biscuits
- Creamy Spring Peas
- Herb-Roasted Carrots & Parsnips
- Smashed Potatoes with Lemon Aioli
- Carrot Top Pesto
- Mom’s Investment Salad (aka Ambrosia Salad)
- Raspberry Almond Streusel Pie with Allspice Whipped Cream
Two years ago: Easter Gooey Butter Cake
Three years ago: Weekly Meal Plan: April 11-17
Four years ago: Eggplant Tofu in Garlic Sauce
Five years ago: Apple Jelly Glazed Pork Chops
Six years ago: Slow Cooker Chicken Nachos
Seven years ago: Cheesy Potato Casserole
CARROT TOP PESTO
Makes approximately 2 cups
3 cloves garlic
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (freshly shredded is fine)
1 cup soft carrot top greenery (main stems removed)
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 tsp lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup Pomora extra virgin olive oil (can add extra to thin out if you so choose)
- In the bowl of a food processor, add garlic. Turn on and add cheese through the feed tube. Continue processing until cheese is finely chopped.
- Add greenery, pine nuts, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process 2-3 seconds, then gradually add olive oil through the feed tube. Continue processing until thoroughly combined.
- Pour into an air-tight container, and top with a small amount of olive oil. Store in the refrigerator.
Source: Adapted from my Homemade Pesto.
Disclosure: I received complimentary Pomora olive oil to use as I pleased. All thoughts an opinions are my own.
I have actually made carrot top pesto – though not quite as fancy as yours. However, I read something recently that said eating carrot tops is not a good idea – there is some kind of chemical or crystal or something in them that is apparently not good for the human body. I’m thinking that a little bit occasionally wouldn’t hurt, but that carrot tops should not be a regular part of our diets. That said, your version sounds quite nice.
Interesting! I went ahead and did an internet search and came up with this article from The Kitchn that says they are fine (https://www.thekitchn.com/breaking-the-myth-of-whether-or-not-you-can-eat-carrot-tops-tips-from-the-kitchn-121158).
Point taken! Now I wish I hadn’t discarded the recipe I came up with for carrot top pesto… Thanks for setting me straight.
Aw that is a bummer. It’s hard to filter through all the information about food over the years. Eggs and good, eggs are bad, fat is bad, fat is good…
I was going through old emails I’ve saved, and today I found where I had shared my carrot top pesto recipe with someone. So what was lost has been found. Yea!!
Hooray! How does it compare to mine?
Mine is actually quite different. Way less garlic, no basil, no spinach, more carrot tops. Parmesan optional, and I don’t remember if I used it or not. The herb I used to flavor it was rosemary, which I liked, except that I needed way less of it. I like your use of spinach – it solves my problem of how to get around too strong an herb flavor. I used rosemary because I’m not really a fan of basil pesto, and I wanted something different to go with carrot tops. If I ever make it again, I would definitely put spinach in it.
Yea I overload with garlic because I love it, but I would also like to try with rosemary!