Soak the tops to clean them and to remove any hidden crittersSoak the tops to clean them and to remove any hidden critters
And into the sinkAnd into the sink
Nice, big leafy carrot tops in the gardenNice, big leafy carrot tops in the garden
Carrot top pesto (just before it met my belly)Carrot top pesto (just before it met my belly)
  • Soak the tops to clean them and to remove any hidden critters
  • And into the sink
  • Nice, big leafy carrot tops in the garden
  • Carrot top pesto (just before it met my belly)

This past week I pulled up about half of our carrots. There’s so much beautiful carrot top per carrot, it seems wasteful to not use them. The first year that I grew them, I tossed the tops with regret, thinking (incorrectly) that they were poisonous. Later I learned the error of my ways, and set to figuring out a way to make use of all of those leafy greens.

Not surprisingly, one of the more popular ways to prepare carrot tops is to turn them into pesto. You can make pretty much anything taste amazing with Parmesan cheese, oil and salt. Carrots are in the same family as parsley, so their tops taste a little bit like parsley. But they are really their own thing; I don’t know anything that tastes quite like them.

I adapted this recipe making it lazier easier, and swapping out standard garlic for the green garlic. All of the ingredients can be adjusted to taste, so taste your way along.

Carrot Top Pesto

  • 1/4 c almonds
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups carrot tops
  • 1/2 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1 c extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  1. Chop the almonds in a food processor.
  2. Throw in the garlic and mince it up.
  3. Add the carrot tops and the Parmesan. Turn the processor on, then drizzle in the oil through the feed tube while the machine is running. Stop when the machine starts to run smoothly.
  4. Taste for salt.

You can make the pesto taste fairly generic by keeping the carrot top amount low compared to the oil and cheese. I like the carrot top flavour to stand out just a bit, so I usually end up adding in a few more tops at the end.

This will make just under 2 cups of pesto, so it should fit nicely in a pint size canning jar. It won’t last long. Plan to either use it all up within a day or two, or freeze it.

11 Responses to “Carrot top pesto”

  1. Eric Reuter
    22 May 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    Made this tonight, and liked it. Thanks for sharing! We’ll pass this along to our CSA members, as we’re starting carrots next week.

  2. CoMo Homestead
    23 May 2012 at 8:10 am #

    Awesome! We really enjoy it. Thanks for letting me know!

  3. hungryprofessor
    31 May 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    I tried this with some carrot tops that came today from the Chert Hollow Farm CSA. Wasn’t sure what to expect but it is really good. Will definitely make this again, maybe splitting carrot tops with parsley next time. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. CoMo Homestead
    3 June 2012 at 12:52 am #

    Fabulous! I’m glad you liked it!

  5. Terry
    2 September 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    I’m so pleased to find this! I asked Facebook friends if anybody knew of a use for carrot greens, and people mostly said “Yuck.” I had to throw out a lovely big bunch of fresh tops that day. But now I know better, thanks to you!

  6. CoMo Homestead
    7 September 2012 at 9:23 am #

    This is great, Terry! Thanks for sharing!


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