Homesteading Family Logo
This site contains affiliate links to products we recommend. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Carrot Top Pesto: A Unique Twist on a Classic

They can be transformed into a delicious and vibrant pesto sauce that will revolutionize your culinary creations. Get ready to explore the world of carrot top pesto and discover how this unique twist on a classic sauce can elevate your dishes to new heights.

Carrot top pesto in a jar on a cutting board next to carrots with green tops.

Did you know that approximately 70% of a carrot’s weight is in its leafy green tops? These often overlooked and discarded carrot greens have so much potential beyond composting.

Why I Love Carrot Top Pesto

It is such a shame that most carrot tops are thrown away. Carrot tops are loaded with nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. Which makes sense! Think about all the time they spend soaking in the sunshine.

So how do you “waste not” and turn those green fronds into good eats? There are lots of options! If you have enough, you can sauté carrot tops in a little oil with garlic and salt and make a whole side dish. Carrot tops can also be treated like parsley and added to soups, stews, stocks, and salads.

By far, my favorite preparation for carrot tops is carrot-top pesto. Using what seems like leftovers from other dishes – carrot tops, Parmesan rinds, green garlic – you can make a fresh savory topping for everything from fish to baked potatoes to pasta.

Don’t be afraid to try different ingredients if they’re all you have on hand. This recipe is intended to use up odds and ends.

Green carrot tops chopped up on a wooden cutting board.

What Do Carrot Tops Taste Like?

When it comes to exploring new flavors in the kitchen, carrot tops offer a nice surprise. These vibrant greens, often overlooked, bring a unique taste that adds a fresh and earthy element to recipes.

Carrot tops have a slightly bitter taste with hints of carrot flavor, making them a versatile ingredient. Their flavor profile complements a variety of dishes, from salads and soups to pesto sauces and your favorite green smoothie recipe.

Adding carrot tops to your recipes not only enhances the taste but also provides an opportunity to reduce food waste. Instead of discarding this overlooked part of the carrot into your compost pile, you can harness its flavor and nutritional benefits to elevate your culinary creations.

Man holding carrots just pulled from the garden.

Health Benefits of Carrot Tops

Carrot tops offer a range of health benefits that make them worth incorporating into your diet. They’re packed with essential nutrients and can provide a fresh and nutritious boost to your meals.

One of the notable health benefits of carrot tops is their high vitamin A content. Vitamin A is essential for maintaining good eye health and promoting proper immune function. (Source)

Carrot tops are also rich in potassium, a mineral that plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure and supporting heart health. (Source) Including carrot tops in your meals can help ensure that you’re getting an adequate intake of this important nutrient.

Additionally, carrot tops contain natural antioxidants that can help protect your body against the damaging effects of free radicals. These antioxidants contribute to overall health and well-being, supporting a strong immune system. (Source)

Whether enjoyed in salads, soups, or pesto, adding carrot tops to your dishes is a simple way to increase your nutrient intake. Don’t let these nutritious greens go to waste – give them a try and reap the health benefits they have to offer.

In the Homestead Kitchen Magazine cover with carrots.

In the Homestead Kitchen

This recipe was featured in issue No. 21 of In the Homestead Kitchen Magazine. If you are looking for more delicious from-scratch recipes to support your homesteading lifestyle, this magazine was designed with you in mind.

No more will you ask, “What do I do with all those eggs? Those bushels of green beans? That 25-lb bag of wheat berries? Or all that basil?” We started publishing In the Homestead Kitchen Digital Magazine to give cooks and gardeners an affordable, inspiring read chock-full of the BEST recipes, DIY projects, and tips to make homesteading doable and FUN.

And guess what? It’s become so popular that In the Homestead Kitchen will be going to PRINT! You can subscribe today to start enjoying the digital version and lock in your price for your monthly printed copy, available January of 2025!

The Breville food processor vegetable chopping kit attachment.

Supplies Needed

Gather all the necessary supplies before getting started to ensure your pesto-making experience is a success.

  • Food Processor – I use the Breville Food Processor, but any quality food processor will work.
  • Spatula – A silicone spatula works well to scrape down the sides of your food processor.
  • Storage Container – Choose an airtight container to keep your carrot top pesto tasting fresh.
Ingredients for carrot top pesto on a wooden cutting board.

Ingredients Needed

  •  2 Cups Carrot Tops – You can substitute up to one cup of other greens like baby spinach or arugula.
  • 1 Clove Garlic – You can substitute four green garlic scapes or ½ teaspoon of dried garlic powder.
  • ½ Cup Nuts – Pecans, pine nuts, cashews, walnuts, or macadamia nuts will all work well.
  • 2-4 Tbsp Finely Chopped Parmesan or Romano Cheese – You can use the rind. Just make sure it’s chopped very small.
  • ½ tsp Sea Salt – I use Redmond Real Salt. Homesteading Hack: Using that link with promo code “HFSalt” will get you 15% off your order!
  • ¼ Tsp Ground Black Pepper – When seasoning your pesto with pepper, it’s best to start with small amounts and gradually adjust to your personal preference. Remember, you can always add more, but it’s impossible to remove excessive seasoning once it’s added.
  • ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Avocado oil can also be used in a pinch.
  • ¼ Cup Basil Leaves – This is an optional add-in to enhance the classic pesto flavor.
  • Juice of Half a Lemon – Also an optional add-in, lemon juice acts as a natural brightener, enhancing the freshness and color of the carrot greens and balancing their earthy flavors.
Carrot top pesto in a glass bowl on a cutting board next to carrots with green tops.

How to Make Carrot Top Pesto

  1. Rinse carrot tops, removing any dry, yellowed, or unappetizing-looking parts. Remove any stems that seem tough or woody.
  2. Pulse nuts and garlic in a food processor to create a thick paste. Scrape down the ingredients as needed to blend everything nice and fine. Homesteading Hack: For a nuttier flavor, you can lightly toast the pine nuts before blending.
  3. Add carrot tops (and any greens or herbs you choose to use), cheese, salt, pepper, and lemon juice (if desired) to the food processor.
  4. Pulse until all ingredients are incorporated and chopped small. Scrape the food processor bowl as needed to ensure all ingredients are processed. At this point, your pesto should be a very thick, rough paste.
  5. Add olive oil, either by pouring it into the food processor all at once or by pouring it into the processor in a small stream while the blade runs. The second method will give you more control of the final texture of the pesto in case you want it thicker or thinner. If you want a more spreadable texture, add olive oil one tablespoon at a time until the desired texture is reached.
  6. Once the oil is fully incorporated, taste your pesto and determine if it needs more salt or oil.
  7. Store your pesto in a glass container in the fridge for up to one week, or freeze in an airtight container for up to six months. The oil may solidify in the fridge, so plan to let it sit out at room temperature for about 15 minutes before using.

Your homemade carrot top pesto is now ready to be enjoyed. Spread it on bread or crackers, toss it with pasta or use it as a layer in your favorite lasagne or pizza recipe. You can also use it as a flavor-packed addition to salads, pork chops, fish, chicken or roasted vegetables. The possibilities are endless!

Did you make this carrot top pesto recipe? If so, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below. Then, snap a photo and tag us on social media @homesteadingfamily so we can see the unique ways you incorporate it into your recipes!

Carrot top pesto in a jar on a cutting board next to carrots with green tops.

FAQ

What is carrot top pesto?

Carrot top pesto is a creative twist on the traditional pesto sauce. It is made by blending fresh carrot greens with ingredients like basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.

What do carrot tops taste like?

Carrot tops have a slightly bitter taste with hints of carrot flavor. They add a fresh and earthy element to dishes and can enhance the overall flavor profile.

What are some creative ways to use carrot tops?

Carrot tops can be used in salads, soups, or as a garnish to add flavor and texture. They are also suitable for smoothies, vegetable broths, or as a replacement for herbs like parsley.

Are carrot tops healthy to eat?

Yes, carrot tops are healthy to eat. They are rich in vitamin A, potassium, and antioxidants, which have potential health benefits such as supporting eye health and boosting immune function.

Can I freeze carrot top pesto for future use?

Yes, you can freeze carrot top pesto for up to six months for future use. Be sure to store it in airtight containers and label them properly. Frozen pesto can be used in various recipes whenever you need a quick and flavorful addition. Consider freezing it in silicone ice cube trays for perfectly portioned amounts of pesto.

Are there variations of carrot top pesto?

Absolutely! You can experiment with different nuts like pistachios, cashews, or walnuts, as well as incorporate additional herbs like parsley. Feel free to get creative and explore different flavors and combinations.

Carrot top pesto, overhead shot in a jar.
Carrot top pesto in a jar on a cutting board next to carrots with green tops.

Carrot Top Pesto

Carrot tops can be transformed into a delicious and vibrant pesto sauce that will revolutionize your culinary creations. Get ready to explore the world of carrot top pesto and discover how this unique twist on a classic sauce can elevate your dishes to new heights.
No ratings yet
Print Pin
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 32 servings
Calories: 47kcal
Author: Carolyn Thomas

Equipment

  • Food Processor
  • spatula
  • Storage Container

Ingredients

  • 2 cups carrot tops
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 4 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

Instructions

  • Rinse carrot tops, removing any dry, yellowed, or unappetizing-looking parts. Remove any stems that seem tough or woody.
  • Pulse nuts and garlic in a food processor to create a thick paste. Scrape down the ingredients as needed to blend everything nice and fine. Homesteading Hack: For a nuttier flavor, you can lightly toast the pine nuts before blending.
  • Add carrot tops (and any greens or herbs you choose to use), cheese, salt, pepper, and lemon juice (if desired) to the food processor.
  • Pulse until all ingredients are incorporated and chopped small. Scrape the food processor bowl as needed to ensure all ingredients are processed. At this point, your pesto should be a very thick, rough paste.
  • Add olive oil, either by pouring it into the food processor all at once or by pouring it into the processor in a small stream while the blade runs. The second method will give you more control of the final texture of the pesto in case you want it thicker or thinner. If you want a more spreadable texture, add olive oil one tablespoon at a time until the desired texture is reached.
  • Once the oil is fully incorporated, taste your pesto and determine if it needs more salt or oil.
  • Store your pesto in a glass container in the fridge for up to one week, or freeze in an airtight container for up to six months. The oil may solidify in the fridge, so plan to let it sit out at room temperature for about 15 minutes before using.

Notes

Your homemade carrot top pesto is now ready to be enjoyed. Spread it on bread or crackers, toss it with pasta or use it as a layer in your favorite lasagne or pizza recipe. You can also use it as a flavor-packed addition to salads, pork chops, fish, chicken or roasted vegetables. The possibilities are endless!

Nutrition

Serving: 1Tablespoon | Calories: 47kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 0.4mg | Sodium: 47mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.
A man and wife smiling.

Welcome to Homesteading Family!

Josh and Carolyn bring you practical knowledge on how to Grow, Cook, Preserve and Thrive on your homestead, whether you are in a city apartment or on 40 acres in the country. If you want to increase your self-sufficiency and health be sure to subscribe for helpful videos on gardening, preserving, herbal medicine, traditional cooking and more.

Sign Up for Updates

Get the latest homesteading tips delivered to your inbox weekly.

Popular Posts

Read by Category

Healthy Healing at Home

Free 4 video workshop on how to confidently use homemade herbal remedies!

More to Explore

Continue Reading

Cornstarch in a wooden bowl with dried corn kernels on the counter.

Versatile Cornstarch Uses for Home & Kitchen

From helping with laundry to personal care and even household tasks, cornstarch proves to be a versatile and handy ingredient that can simplify your

Previous
Next

Homestead Kitchen Membership!

Join over 1,500 Homesteaders and grow together.

Become a Confident and Self-Sufficient Homesteader