Can you eat carrot greens? Oh yes, you can! This Carrot Top Pesto with pumpkin seeds and hemp hearts is a delicious way to make use of your produce in its entirety. Drizzle this pesto as condiment over roasted veggies, toss your pasta with it or use as a dip.
This carrot top pesto came to be as another result in my attempt to use at least some of the sprouted plants I was thinning from my mom's vegetable garden. As I already mentioned in the Sautéed Beet Greens post, we were housesitting earlier this summer and thinning the root vegetable plot was one of my tasks.
Again, thinning was a new practice to me. I've only started to become interested in gardening in the last couple of years and we've mostly been traveling long-term and/or living in an apartment in that time.
So I went to Google for some research and found a few really helpful Youtube videos. From which I learned that root vegetable seeds are super tiny (read: impossible to handle with precision) and sprout rather unpredictably (read: you never know which and how many seeds will actually turn into a plant).
So the best way to deal with this, is sowing a bunch of seed and thinning out the plot (removing extra seedling) as the plants start to sprout. Ideally, you do this early on before any actually vegetables - in this case carrots - form.
But since I was a little slow to catch on and also, we had a few really really rainy weeks which resulted in everything growing in record time. So all of a sudden there was a thick forest of carrot greens to weed through.
I pulled out a LOT of carrot tops and most of them had already developed the cutest, tiny baby carrots. I couldn't let any of the carrots go to waste but that's for another post (and recipe).
However, I couldn't use ALL of the green carrot tops, because there were just too freaking many of them. Luckily, my mom also raises chickens who were delighted by this green treat and I felt better, because they technically didn't go to waste.
With the greens that I did end up using, I made a few batches of this awesome carrot top pesto. For the recipe I combined elements of my favorite spinach almond pesto with inspiration from Tieghan's carrot top recipe on Half Baked Harvest.
In the following weeks the pesto ended up on our table for many meals. I love it as a savory bread spread, as a condiment for grilled meats and it is perfect for super quick pesto pasta meals.
And just to be clear, you don't need to grow your own carrots to be able to make this recipe. Just make it whenever you get carrots with the greens still attached (and bright + fresh looking).
You'll probably have the best luck with the organic carrots in the produce section of the grocery store or at your local farmer's market.
Carrot Top Pesto with Pumpkin Seeds and Hemp Hearts
- 2 cups carrot top greens tender spinach or baby kale can be substituted
- ½ cup fresh basil
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta
- 2 tablespoon hemp hearts
- red pepper flakes
- sea salt to taste
- Add the carrot greens, basil, garlic and toasted pumpkin seeds to a food processor (I used this mini prep). Pulse to a coarse pesto texture.
- Drizzle in the olive oil and run food processor to combine. Add feta crumbles and hemp heart. Season with a pinch of red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Pulse a few more times to combine.
- Use carrot top pesto right away or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Let come to room temperature before serving.
- Optionally, drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle a few more hemp hearts on top.
Products I use to make this Carrot Top Pesto Recipe:
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Melanie | Melanie Makes
Love actually using the tops of the carrots instead of just tossing them into the compost. This looks delicious!
Thanks so much Melanie! Yes, we has sooo many one summer that I just HAD to come up with a recipe to use at least of the carrot tops
Natasha @ Salt & Lavender
What a great idea! You know, it's never occurred to me to use the carrot tops. I will have to remember this!
Yes! Don't through out the leaves, if you ever get carrots with the greens still attached.
Denise | Sweet Peas & Saffron
I absolutely love this idea, I didn't grow any carrots this year (probably because I always miss the boat on that thinning step LOL!), but I'll definitely need to plant some next season to try this!!
Thanks so much Denise! And definitely use the greens if you end up growing carrots next year 🙂