Simple Provisions

Food does not need to be fancy to be celebrated

Carrot Top and Walnut Pesto

Earlier in the week I made pomegranate roasted carrots, and they were delicious. After preparing the carrots I had a bunch of feathery carrot tops fanning across my bench. Heidi from Apples Under My Bed mentioned that she keeps carrot tops to make pistou or pesto when we looked in her fridge, and I was inspired to try it.

Root vegetables are givers. Radish, beetroot, turnips and carrots not only have tasty, colourful roots, they all have edible leaves. Carrot leaves can be bitter, so although you can eat them raw in a salad, they’re better off mingling with other elements in a stock, being mellowed with some heat in a frying pan or being whizzed into a pesto.

Carrot Top and Walnut Pesto

This recipe is a cross between a pesto and pistou. I didn’t have any parmesan to hand, but I did have walnuts, which go so wonderfully with carrots in a carrot cake, I thought they’d make a good guest appearance in this pesto. The result is sharper than a traditional basil pesto, the bitterness from the greens and the lack of creamy pine nuts make for an altogether earthier, more robust marriage, but it has its charms. The lemon keeps it fresh and the greens are vaguely carroty, bringing a vibrant flavour to whatever you pair the pesto with. Here’s some ideas:

  • Stir through cooked wholemeal spaghetti and serve with grated parmesan on top
  • Spread on grilled lamb chops
  • Add a dollop to a bowl of vegetable soup
  • Combine with a nice melty cheese and some roasted pumpkin in a grilled cheese sandwich

This pesto is super cheap to make, uses up something that was destined for the bin and pays one meal forward to the next, creating beginnings for more meals. Nice one.

Carrot Top and Walnut Pesto

Carrot Top and Walnut Pesto

Ingredients

  • Green tops from one bunch of carrots (mine came from about 450g/1 pound of carrots)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil (to get the consistency you like)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 handful of walnuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Place washed carrot tops in the bowl of a food processor with the garlic, lemon juice and walnuts. Add 1/4 cup of oil and process. Add more oil and process till you get a nice pesto-like consistency. Season.

32 thoughts on “Carrot Top and Walnut Pesto

  1. (▰˘◡˘▰) says:

    This looks amazing. I’m definitely trying your recipe 🙂

    1. Amelia says:

      A great way to use up bits that were otherwise destined for the bin.

  2. Saskia (1=2) says:

    Nose to tail dining with carrots! Love it Amelia. Had no idea the tops could be used in this way (the kids usually ‘plant’ our carrot tops on cotton balls). Definitely going to give this a burl. Yum.

    1. Amelia says:

      Yep! I can’t say it beats basil pesto, but in the winter months when basil is scarce and flavours are more robust, this is a good substitute.

  3. Just when I thought some things were meant to be thrown away. Thanks for the useful tip!

    1. Amelia says:

      You’re welcome Dolly!

  4. Pesto with carrot?? Omg what a awesome idea wil try soon

    1. Amelia says:

      It’s a handy way to use up scraps, for sure.

  5. Such a great idea! I alway just through them away… Now I know what to do with it, it looks delicious and does sound pretty healthy! Thanks for sharing this

    1. Amelia says:

      Definitely healthy! You can taste the health coming out of it!

  6. Thanks for the mention, lovely. Root veg are such givers, aren’t they? I find lemon to be of particular importance to this pesto. Love the walnuts addition x

    1. Amelia says:

      Thanks for the inspiration! I wouldn’t have tried it without you.

  7. KerryCan says:

    This would absolutely NEVER have occurred to me . . . but it sounds quite lovely!

    1. Amelia says:

      A good one to try at least once

  8. chef mimi says:

    Ha! This one is new to me! I’ve never used carrot greens. But why not?!!! Your pesto/pistou and suggestions are wonderful. And thanks for always responding to comments. Some bloggers are just too “big” for commenting!

    1. Amelia says:

      Well thank you for visiting and commenting Mimi – I’m grateful that you stop by 🙂

  9. Deepa says:

    What a clever way to use up carrot tops!

    1. Amelia says:

      It’s a good trick to have in the arsenal Deepa, especially when winter has taken all the fresh herbs away!

  10. Shruti says:

    Never heard anyone making pesto with carrot… This is quite interesting 🙂 And look at the bowl… how tempting it looks!!!

    1. Amelia says:

      That bowl did two meals for two of us, so not only is this recipe using up something that was otherwise destined for the bin, it’s plentiful.

  11. ladyredspecs says:

    Great idea! There is so much food wasted in this mindless world of consumerism. I recently make a similar pesto with parsley which was terrific too, but carrot tops will be my next pesto adventure! Thanks Amelia

    1. Amelia says:

      I love parsley pesto too, it’s great with fish. Good luck with your next adventure 🙂

  12. John says:

    One of he most under appreciated and often wasted products – carrot tops! more great ideas and information in the World Carrot Museum – http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/carrotops.html

    1. Amelia says:

      Wow – heaps of info on carrot tops! Thanks John.

  13. How fabulously innovative. I’m trying this. It’s the middle of winter and I’m just about to dig up my decidedly bedraggled herb garden. I’ve thrown carrot tops into my stockpot before and used picked fronds as a garnish for soups and salads but it has never occurred to me to make a pistou.

    1. Amelia says:

      My poor old herbs are all sagging in their pots too. I hadn’t thought to use carrot tops as a garnish, but they’d look great! Thanks for the tip.

  14. I love that you didn’t have to waste the beautiful greens from the carrots!! How creative and it looks delicious!! Well done!

  15. laurasmess says:

    I make carrot top pesto myself, usually with walnuts (as you did!) and always with parmesan… I love your earthy and clean version. I can definitely imagine eating it with the recommended wholemeal spaghetti! Yum. Loved reading Heidi’s ‘in my fridge’ post too. Big yay for minimal wastage! xx

    1. Amelia says:

      Great minds Laura 🙂

  16. chefkim1968 says:

    Great post. I’m thinking I could use the extra watercress that is in my fridge in the same way.

  17. L'essences says:

    Absolutely making this one soon!

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