Carrot Top Pesto is easy to make, and it's a versatile recipe that is delicious as a sauce, salad dressing, and protein topping!
One of my favorite sights at the farmer's markets are the bright, vibrant greens against the blazing orange of farm fresh carrots plucked straight from the ground not long before they're out for sale.
If you ever buy carrots that still have the leafy greens attached, save them to make a delicious and nutritious pesto!
🌱 Why carrot tops?
It breaks my heart whenever I see someone discard carrot greens. They're perfect for pesto!
Carrot tops are also packed with health benefits. They reportedly have 6 times more vitamin C than the carrot roots.
Plus, they are full of healthy calcium, potassium, and phytonutrients.
Carrot greens are said to boost the immune system, aid in digestion, and regulate blood pressure.
And, because they are rich in Vitamin A, they are also said to help improve vision.
🥕 Ingredient notes
Carrot tops - This recipe calls for carrot greens from one whole bunch of carrots. Be sure to wash the carrot greens well in cold water. You can chop them in half or thirds before adding to the food processor if you like.
Olive oil - use the best extra-virgin olive oil you can afford.
Garlic - The recipe calls for two cloves, which gives it a really bright, sharp garlic flavor - which I love. Feel free to just use one garlic clove if you prefer.
Lemon Juice - squeeze the juice from one lemon to add some nice acidity to balance the flavors.
✅ Step-by-step instructions
Making pesto truly is SO easy!
- Simply add all ingredients into a food processor.
- Pulse until it forms a nice paste. You may need to use a spatula to scrap down the sides once, then pulse again, to ensure all of the ingredients are evenly chopped.
🌿 Ways to use pesto
Pesto is such a versatile sauce/dip/topping that can be used with so many different dishes!
- This carrot top pesto is an awesome flavor topping for Pan-Seared Salmon and other seafood.
- Use as a pasta sauce, like this Steak Tortellini with Pesto.
- Serve as a dip with cut veggies and crackers. It looks beautiful on a grazing table!
- Spread onto toast for open-faced sandwiches, like these oh so yummy Pesto Caprese Tartines.
- Use as pizza sauce, like in this Shrimp Pesto Pizza.
In addition to using the leaves for pesto, you could use them in smoothies. Or, chop some up to enjoy with your favorite salad. Because the tops are bitter, you'll want to make sure you balance the flavors with a little sweetness and some acidity.
If you're not going to use the greens right away, you can separate them from the roots, then wrap in a damp paper towel. Refrigerate and use within a day or two.
If stored properly, pesto will stay fresh for up to 5 to 7 days.
Yes! Keep in mind that these greens are fairly bitter, which is why they're delicious when used in combination with some sweetness and acidity like in pesto. But you can also cook them to soften the bitterness.
Absolutely! Freeze pesto in ice cube trays, then place the frozen cubes into a freezer-safe bag. Frozen pesto will keep for up to 6 months!
🍳 Tools & Equipment
Food Processor - A food processor is the main thing you will need to make this pesto.
You can also try using a high-powered blender, but I've found that a food processor is easier for pesto and other sauces.
More pesto recipes
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Carrot Top Pesto
- Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until a coarse paste forms.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.