Carrot Top Pesto
1 large handful of carrot tops (large stems removed)
1 handful of fresh basil
2 tblsp pine nuts
1 tblsp finely ground Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 clove of garlic
1-2 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
Using a food processor pulse together all the ingredients, adding a more oil as necessary to make a nice paste.
Check the taste, season with salt and pepper and add more pine nuts, Parmesan or basil as/if needed
Carrot Top Pesto Is Great On Roasted Carrots
Just scrub the carrots, chop into 2 inch pieces and roast in some light olive oil in a medium hot oven (180oC) for25-35 minutes, . giving them stir around after 15 minutes.
Once the roasted carrots have cooled a bit, coat with the pesto and serve. Lovely with a lean beef steak, roast chicken or a lentil salad.
Other ideas for Pesto
Carrot Top Pesto, or any other homemade pesto*– is also delicious with potatoes; pasta and veggie pasta alternatives like courgette or butternut squash noodles; cheese like mozzarella, halloumi or feta; on steamed veggies; with chicken or fish; as a salad dressing (you can dilute it with more extra virgin olive oil or some lemon juice); with avocado and tomato.
* If you don’t have any carrot tops you can use any other greens, like rocket, radish leaves, spinach, kale (just remove the tough stems), broccoli or just use fresh basil for the traditional pesto etc.
You can also use other nuts or seeds instead of pine nuts and add chilli if you like it spicy.
Here I’ve combined the pesto with new potatoes and steamed runner beans and tender-stem broccoli and served with pan-fried salmon steaks.
You can store home-made pesto in a glass jar in the fridge for 3-4 days, just drizzle a little extra olive oil over the top before storing, or freeze it.
Nutritional Benefits of Carrot Tops
You may not have eaten carrot tops before and many people throw them away! However, they are nutritious and a rich source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium and chlorophyll. I would use organic carrot tops as non-organic ones will likely have been sprayed with pesticides
Other ideas for using Carrot Tops
You can also use them for stock, in stews or as part of a salad or as a garnish in the same way you would use parsley. They taste a bit like parsley but more carroty. Just don’t overdo it as some people are sensitive to them if they eat too many.