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Flavor From Scratch: Carrot Top & Basil Pesto


Carrot Top & Basil Pesto

I'm not going to lie...this is a weird sounding one. I got some pretty strange looks from my family when I told them I was going to make carrot top pesto. Even my sister, who I have to admit makes some weird stuff of her own, looked at me like I was out of my mind. I questioned my sanity for a brief moment. My official conclusion was that I was sane...at least in regards to this pesto.

This pesto is just as, if not more, delicious than your run of the mill pesto. It's got a bit of a bite to it that typical pesto doesn't have. Plus, it's also a great use of otherwise overlooked, yet perfectly good food!

My husband and I grew some gorgeous carrots in our garden that were scrumptious in my balsamic & orange roasted carrots. We had a RIDICULOUS amount of carrot tops from these carrots. We worked so hard to grow those pretty little carrots and, by golly, I was determined to use the carrot tops. This is great for those of you who grow carrots or that get carrots with the tops on at the farmer's market or store. I would recommend organic because you never know what ends up on vegetables these days.

I wish I had taken a picture of our refrigerator full of carrot tops while I decided what to make with them. It was like a jungle in there! Every day my husband comes home looking for a pre-dinner snack. I'm pretty sure he didn't even question the fact that when he opened the fridge he couldn't see through the forest of carrot tops. Apparently it's like a don't ask, don't tell situation with the weird food that pops up around our house waiting to made into something delicious. I suppose he just trusts that I have a plan with the random food he finds. And I usually do have a plan...usually.

prep time: 10 minutes
makes: approximately 1 cup

  • 3 cups carrot top leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted (see directions)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper, to taste

  1. To toast the pine nuts, place in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until they start to lightly toast. You will know they are starting to toast when they start to become more fragrant. Stay close during this process because they can burn quickly!
  2. Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until mixture turns into a paste/puree.

We made pesto grilled cheese sandwiches with these (recipe to come). We also used some of the pesto to top grilled chicken, which was also delicious!

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At September 23, 2015 , Blogger Karen Walker said...

Oh My, Stephanie! I literally just tossed out the carrot tops from our latest bunch! Who knew you could EAT them too. I am learning new things, so I will keep checking in on your newest creations. :)

At September 23, 2015 , Blogger Steph said...

Yep, might as well eat them if they are edible!! This is the first thing I've ever made with carrot tops but it sure was tasty.


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