Carrot Top Pesto

Carrot Top Pesto is a fresh, flavorful homemade pesto sauce made with 4 ingredients!  It’s vegan, dairy free, and naturally gluten-free.

pesto sauce in jar with spoon in center

Meet my new favorite pesto sauce!  That’s saying a lot, because I love my pesto.  This Carrot Top Pesto recipe is truly special, and everyone in my family loves it as much as I do.

Win-win!

Pesto is a staple in my house, and I prep a batch or two often to have on hand for a quick dinner.  I’ve learned how to make it with almost anything that I have on hand, and I shared all of my tips with you in my post How to Make Pesto Sauce.

pesto sauce with spoon in center, front view

Carrot Top Pesto

This carrot top pesto recipe reinforces the fact that you can prepare a great pesto sauce out of almost anything.

I decided to prepare carrot green pesto after buying a few bunches of some gorgeous organic carrots.  It’s a great way to use the entire vegetable and reap the nutritional benefits of those carrot tops!

carrot bunches with carrot tops

What do carrot tops taste like?

Carrot tops are reminiscent of herbs.  They’ve got the freshness of parsley, with the mild flavor of carrots.  The first time I tried them the flavor blew my mind — they’re incredibly delicious.

Some describe carrot tops as bitter greens, but I didn’t find the flavor to be bitter at all.  I happen to enjoy the bitter flavors of kale, chicories, etc., so it’s definitely personal preference.

Are carrot tops good for you?

Yes!  Carrot tops have more health benefits than the carrots themselves.  They contain around 6 times more Vitamin C than the carrots themselves, and are a good source of calcium and potassium.

How to use carrot tops

You can use carrot tops in pesto as I’ve done here, or other herb-based sauces like chimichurri sauce or Italian salsa verde. 

Carrot leaves are also great addition to homemade vegetable stock, smoothies and salad!

carrot tops

How to make carrot top pesto

This recipe comes together in mere minutes, with only 4 ingredients!  I omitted the parmesan cheese and made my carrot top pesto recipe vegan, and it didn’t sacrifice flavor in the slightest.

All ingredients except for the oil in the bowl of a food processor, and process until coarsely chopped.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, replace the lid, and stream the olive oil in through the feed tube with the processor running.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, if needed and process until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.  Adjust the seasoning as necessary, and your sauce is ready!

Recipe tips and substitutions

Prepare your carrot top pesto recipe vegan according to the recipe, adding nutritional yeast for some umami flavor.  You may also use parmesan cheese if you’re not following a vegan or dairy free diet.

I highly recommend toasting the walnuts for flavor.  You may also substitute the walnuts with your favorite nut.

See my post How to Make Pesto Sauce for all the ways that you can customize your pesto!

If you’d like your pesto to retain it’s bright green color longer, consider blanching the carrot greens in boiling water for 30 seconds, then submerge in ice water to stop the cooking process.  Blot dry and proceed as directed.

pesto sauce with spoon angled, front view

Delicious ways to use pesto sauce:

Cheesy Pesto Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Boats

Grilled Lemon Pesto Chicken Kebabs

Grilled Veggie Flatbread Pizza with Pesto

Roasted Mushroom Vegetable Bowls with Avocado Pesto by Making Thyme for Health

Carrot Top Pesto

Yield: 1 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Carrot Top Pesto is a fresh, flavorful homemade pesto sauce made with 4 ingredients!  It's vegan, dairy free, and naturally gluten-free.
Carrot Top Pesto

Ingredients

  • 4 cups carrot tops, washed well and blotted dry*
  • Juice from half a lemon (2 tablespoons)
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil or algae oil

Instructions

  1. Place the carrot tops, lemon juice, walnuts and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  2. With the processor running, add the oil through the feed tube, scraping the sides of the bowl again as necessary, until the sauce has reached the desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  3. Enjoy!

Notes

  • *2 bunches of carrots yield a good 4 cups of carrot tops.
  • Blanch the carrot tops to retain their beautiful green color longer, or customize the sauce to your liking following my tips in my post How to Make Pesto Sauce.
  • Pesto is freezer-friendly. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months, then defrost in the fridge.
  • I love using Thrive Algae Oil in this pesto recipe. It has a neutral flavor that allows the fresh flavor of the carrot tops to shine through!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

2 tablespoons

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 217 Total Fat: 17g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 15g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 173mg Carbohydrates: 15g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 9g Protein: 2g
Nutrition information is mean to be an estimate only. The numbers will vary based on the quantity consumed, brands used and substitutions that are made.

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