My infatuation for pesto comes from a deep love of dipping sauces, gravies and other delicious finishing touches to otherwise one-note dishes.
This Carrot Top Pesto also fits right into my goal of reducing food waste in my own kitchen. While I might have thrown the leafy green parts of carrots into the compost or trash in years past, these days I do my best to use up as much of the veggies I have as possible.
The pesto can freeze well in individual cubes for later use, and it mixes in well with mayonnaise for an oven fry dipping sauce. Use it to top eggs – one of my most favorite applications – or, of course, serve it on some perfectly roasted whole carrots for a rustic side dish.
For the Roasted Carrots: Wash and dry the carrots while an oven is preheating to 400 degrees F. Add carrots to a small sheet pan and drizzle with about 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with a generous amount of sea salt and cracked black pepper. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the carrots. Turn the carrots halfway through the cooking process. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and toasted pine nuts.
- 2 to 3 cups carrot tops (from 1 bunch carrots)
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 lemon
- ¼ to ½ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Add pine nuts and garlic clove to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 8 to 10 times to start breaking down and forming a paste.
Tear up the carrot tops, using mostly the leafy portion, into the bowl of the food processor. Add in fresh parsley. Put lid back on and run on low until the mixture is well combined.
Zest 1 lemon into the food processor, and squeeze the juice from ½ the lemon into the bowl. Reserve the other lemon half for another use. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
With food processor running on low, drizzle olive oil into the top until desired texture is reached. I don’t use exact measurements, so I eyeball it until the pesto reaches a thickness that’s not runny but also not a thick paste.
Substitutions: Use toasted walnuts, cashews or macadamia nuts if you don’t have pine nuts. If you don’t have parsley, use an additional ½ cup carrot tops or mint.