Vegan Carrot Top Pesto
Don’t waste any parts of the carrot with this Easy Vegan Carrot Top Pesto! This vegan pesto uses a part of the carrot you might otherwise throw away, for a no-waste recipe that is ready in 5 minutes.
This year, I have a raised bed garden for the first time ever. I don’t have a ton of outdoor space, just a small front yard that’s covered in giant agave plants. Earlier this winter, I was poking around and saw that if I pulled out a few small agave plants and one little bush, I had plenty of space to put in a 6 foot by 3 foot raised bed. So in mid-January, I did exactly that! It’s not the most beautiful raised bed in the world, but’s allowed me to do what I’ve dreamt about for years: grow my own herbs, vegetables, and flowers.
I started early in the year with a plethora of root veggies, all started from seed – radishes, beets, and of course, carrots. The radishes were harvested months ago and succession planted with more, but I waited patiently for my carrot greens to get big and bushy, until I could feel the carrot growing beneath the loamy soil.
Last week, I finally grabbed ahold of a carrot top and gently wiggled it around until a beautiful carrot shook loose from the soil. I ate a few of the carrots fresh from the garden, but I had a big pile of beautiful carrot greens, and I certainly wasn’t about to toss them straight into the compost. So what to do instead? Make a big batch of beautiful carrot top pesto!
What do carrot top greens taste like?
Carrot top greens taste pretty mild and sweet, with a little bit of a parsley flavor and a little bit of carrot flavor! Some people find them to be mildly bitter, but I haven’t experienced that. If yours have any bitterness, that flavor should be cut by the lemon and salt in this recipe.
I’ve found they don’t have a super bold flavor, which is why I love including other leafy herbs like basil or dill in the pesto as well.
How do you make carrot top pesto?
This carrot top pesto is made similarly to any other pesto recipes!
- To make, you’ll combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a small food processor or blender. I use my KitchenAid Cordless Chopper.
- Pulse a few times to break up the ingredients, and then slowly drizzle in the olive oil, pulsing frequently as the pesto breaks down.
- Keep adding oil and blending until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.
- Taste and adjust as necessary, and then transfer to a jar and store in the fridge until ready to use!
Tips for the best pesto
- You’ll want to strip the leaves off the woodier carrot top stems for the most tender pesto
- Combine with other favorite herbs for extra flavor! I used basil from the garden – dill, cilantro, or other favorites would also be great and will all change the flavor.
- Drizzle in the oil slowly to help it emulsify
- Make it as thick or thin as you like by adjusting the amount of oil. You can also thin with water.
- Don’t forget to adjust for taste! Add more salt, lemon, or nutritional yeast depending on your favorite type of pesto.
- You can freeze pesto! Put it in a jar with a little extra room on the top (if it’s filled too high, it can crack the jar when frozen) and you can have fresh pesto all year round.
Perfect pairings for your carrot top pesto:
- Easy Vegan Mac & Cheese
- Gluten-Free Vegan Pesto Pasta with Broccoli
- Vegan Cauliflower Gnocchi with Pesto
Don’t waste any parts of the carrot with this Easy Carrot Top Pesto! This vegan pesto uses a part of the carrot you might otherwise throw away, for a no waste recipe you’ll love.
- ½ cup nut or seed of your choice, I used pecans
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 lemon, zested + juiced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast, optional
- 3 cups of destemmed carrot tops
- ½ to 1 cup other fresh herbs, I used basil
- About ⅓ cup olive oil
- Combine all of your ingredients except the olive oil in your food processor or blender.
- Drizzle the oil in as you blend, scraping the sides as needed to get all it fully blended up. I like to make it pretty fine since carrot tops can be a little tougher than other herbs.
- Taste + adjust as needed. Use immediately, or transfer to a jar and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze for up to a year.
Keywords: carrot top, pesto, vegan pesto, no waste