I made carrot top pesto for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I’ve heard about it a long time ago but never got the chance to try it. I have to say, I was very surprised.
It’s super simple to make, very tasty, and behaves much better than basil pesto. It lasts in the refrigerator for a long time, you can freeze it in a mason jar, and it doesn’t oxidize (turns brown) like basil pesto does.
I still have a lot of carrots in the garden. They are ready for harvest, but I keep them in the ground which is acting as a refrigerator. We pick a few carrots at a time for dinner or a snack and instead of tossing all of the tops in the compost pile or feeding them to the worms, I save a few for pesto. I keep them in the fridge in a Ziplock bag until I have enough to make pesto.
Carrot Top Pesto
I started with half a cup of walnuts and two peeled garlic cloves in the food processor.
I also tried it with almonds and pine nuts. From the three kinds of nuts, I was very surprised to find that almonds were my favorite. But they were all very good.
Pulse the nuts with the garlic a few times…
Then add half a cup of grated parmesan (or Asiago) cheese and the carrot tops. I think the best way to measure the tops is to weight them. I used 3 oz of carrot tops here, I think it’s about 3 cups or so.
I don’t use the stems, just the leaves.
Start the food processor and while it is working, add the olive oil. I don’t really know how much I used… Maybe 3/4 of a cup or so. You just keep adding it until you get the consistency you want.
I like my pesto very thick. If you like it a bit more runny add more olive oil.
Now, transfer it to a bowl, and add salt and pepper to taste.
We usually spread it on bread, but you can also make pasta sauce with it if you like. Or use it any other way you would use basil pesto.
It is one of those simple ways to use more of your harvest. I am a bit mad at myself that I didn’t do this before.
Usually, I grow a lot of basil in the summer and make enough pesto for the whole year (I freeze it). This year my basil didn’t do well at all so I didn’t make any pesto. Thanks to carrot top pesto we don’t have to wait until next year. We have fresh pesto from the garden even during the winter!