Carrot Top Pesto

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed since receiving weekly CSAs, it’s that you often end up with leftover produce and parts of produce that you may not know what to do with. Lately, I’ve been left with lots of radish & carrot greens. Composting is great, but you won’t want to miss out on the nutritious value of these greens, such as Vitamin C, iron, calcium, B Vitamins and so on.

In order to avoid waste, I’ve started making weekly recipes with these leftover greens. Check out my first ever recipe Green Radish Leaf Curry with Sweet Potato & Fried Tofu to see how I made use of tons of radish greens!

In order to make equally delicious use of my carrot tops, I created this pesto recipe. Keep in mind that this recipe works equally well for radish green pesto or traditional basil pesto. If opting for basil, you’ll want to skip the blanching directions and instead through it into your food processor raw.

Makes: 1 1/2 cups

Time: 10-15 minutes

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 2 cups carrot tops, chopped, blanched & drained (yields about 1 cup after blanching)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp salt, more if desired


To blanch the carrot tops, fill a skillet with enough water to cover it by a 1/2 inch and put on medium-high heat. Cut down the first 3 inches of the carrot top stems and discard, then chop the rest. Once you notice the water beginning to steam, toss in your chopped carrot tops and stir for 3-5 minutes until they take on a vibrant green hue. Drain the carrot tops and rinse with cold water to halt the cooking process. Gently press down with a paper towel, then set aside.

Throw in your carrot tops & all of your other ingredients into a food processor and process until it reaches a thick & chunky consistency. Add more salt (and more garlic, if you dare) until it satisfies your taste buds.

spaghetti with pesto & wilted spinach

This pesto works works great with warm pasta totally by itself. You can also cook your pasta ahead of time and stir it in to make a chilled pasta salad. Whether hot or cold, I usually like to add kalamata olives and/or roasted veggies, along with feta or goat cheese to my pasta.

pasta salad with pesto, snap peas, kalamata olives, roasted zucchini & goat cheese

Want something other than pasta? Mix 1/2 pesto & 1/2 mayo and use your new pesto aioli on literally anything you want. From potato salad to epic sandwiches, opportunities are endless!

Be sure to subscribe & follow me on Instagram @liveatslocal for more recipes and posts, and don’t hesitate to message me with any questions or ideas of your own.


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