This easy recipe for Carrot Top Pesto turns the leafy green tops of carrots into a flavorful bold sauce, in just a few minutes! Use it in pasta, salads, sandwiches, or toss with vegetables for a quick and easy pesto that’s full of flavor.
If you’re wondering what you should make with the greens on carrot tops, then this recipe is for you!
Carrot top pesto can be whipped up in just a few minutes and used in so many ways, from pasta and sandwiches to roasted vegetables or stirred into mashed potato.
Most people don’t even know that carrots grow beautiful leafy greens on top. They have a texture that’s similar to dill and a bold earthy green taste.
Instead of throwing them away, I love to make a quick pesto from the greens, or this Carrot Top Chimichurri. They also make a tasty Carrot Top Salad, which is full of grated carrots, chickpeas, raisins and a simple, tasty carrot top dressing. A Carrot Top White Bean Dip is another tasty way to use them up.
Not only do I have a beautiful sauce to use with so many dishes, but I am able to use up something I otherwise would have thrown away. This recipe is not only nutrient-dense, but it’s great for the environment too.
Next time you’re looking to make homemade pesto at home, try it with a new green like the stems from fresh carrots.
And be sure to find out all about the Tops of Carrots with my 101 guide, including recipes, tips, and ideas.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
There’s no need to throw away carrot tops which makes this an environmentally friendly recipe that’s also good for you.
A tasty way to reduce food waste.
This carrot greens pesto recipe comes together quickly and easily.
You can use pesto in a variety of dishes including pasta, salads, sandwiches, dips, or fresh roasted vegetables.
It can easily be made vegan by using vegan parmesan cheese.
The ingredients can be customized to whatever you have on hand. See below for tips and suggestions.
- Carrot Greens - You’ll need enough for 1 ½ cups. This is usually the amount on one bunch of carrots.
- Fresh Herbs - Parsley and basil go along great with carrot greens.
- Garlic - Adds fresh garlic flavor to the sauce.
- Grated Parmesan - Adds a salty bite and thick texture. Omit for vegan.
- Raw Walnuts - Gives this pesto thickness, richness, and crunch. You can swap for other types of nuts, such as pine nuts, almonds, hazelnuts etc...
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Helps the pesto come together and gives it a rich sauce texture.
- Salt & Pepper - Balances and enhances all the flavors in pesto.
Step By Step Tutorial
Wondering how to make carrot top pesto? Read on for the super easy recipe!
Follow this step by step photo tutorial, then scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredients list and method.
Prepare the carrot greens: Wash the carrot tops thoroughly, then chop at the stems leaving the feathery greens.
Blend the carrot greens pesto: Add the carrot tops, parsley, basil, garlic, parmesan, and walnuts to a food processor.
Pulse until a crumbly texture is formed and everything is combined. With the machine running, slowly add the oil until smooth.
Season and serve: Taste, and add any additional seasonings, then store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Make sure your greens are fully washed before adding to the food processor as they tend to harbor excess dirt.
Use organic carrot greens if you can.
Sure, you could make regular basil pesto, but this carrot top version is a tasty twist on the classic.
If your nuts are too large, you may need to roughly chop them before adding them to the food processor. This will help them break down easier.
Make sure you add in the oil slowly in order to fully incorporate the ingredients into a smooth sauce.
Your nuts should be UNSALTED to make sure there isn’t too much salt in the pesto.
Enjoy this carrot top pesto recipe any way you eat standard pesto!
Stir into hot pasta, roasted potatoes, or spoon onto roasted vegetables.
Swirl into mayo to use in sandwiches or as a quick dip.
Spread onto this roasted vegetable sandwich.
Use as an alternative to tomato sauce for a pizza.
Drizzle onto a bowl of creamy cauliflower soup to add a bold zesty herb flavor.
Stir into Swede and Carrot Mash.
Toss into a serving of Simple Pasta with Peas.
Stir a little into this Dill Pickle Pasta Salad for extra flavour.
Use as a dipping sauce for Baked Cauliflower Wings.
Goes great when mixed into a Creamy Pea Salad.
Ways to use pesto
- Stirred into hot pasta.
- Mix with mayo or sour cream for a quick dip.
- Spread onto sandwiches.
- Stir into butter for a pesto butter.
- Use as a burger sauce.
- Drizzle onto bowls of soup for extra flavor.
- Use to flavor pasta salad.
- Drizzle over roasted potatoes.
- Brush onto meat or veggies before grilling.
- Spread onto a sheet of puff pastry, add veggies and bake.
- Use on pizzas instead of, or in addition to, tomato sauce.
- Stir into mashed potatoes.
- Spoon onto roasted vegetables.
- Stir into air fryer gnocchi or pan fried gnocchi along with a handful of spinach and some chopped sun dried tomatoes.
Switch up the nuts you’re using to make the pesto by using almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, or pecans.
For a nut-free pesto, use sunflower seeds, white beans, or chickpeas in place of the nuts.
You can make this recipe vegan by using a vegan parmesan cheese found at your local health food store or just leave out the parmesan. You can also make your own vegan parmesan.
Storing: Leftover carrot top pesto can be stored in the fridge in an airtight jar or container for up to 5 days.
Freezing: The best way to freeze pesto is to pour any leftovers into ice cube trays. Freeze overnight, then pop out the pesto cubes and add them to a freezer-safe bag or container. Frozen pesto will stay fresh in the freezer for 3-4 months.
Absolutely! The feathery greens at the top of carrots are a completely edible part of the vegetable that often gets ignored or thrown away.
Carrot greens have a slightly bitter flavor, so they are best mixed into sauces and salads that have bold flavors such as this carrot top pesto.
Yes! They are loaded with vitamin A, chlorophyll, and potassium which make them an excellent choice for healthy eating.
More Carrot Recipes
I hope you love this carrot top pesto as much as we do! Be sure to try these other tasty carrot recipes too.
Carrot Top Pesto
- salad spinner
- 1 ½ cups (50g) carrot tops/carrot greens (approx 1 bunch)
- Small handful fresh parsley
- Small handful fresh basil
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- ⅓ cup (10g) grated parmesan cheese (or vegetarian parmesan)
- ¼ cup (35g) raw unsalted walnuts (or almonds, hazelnuts)
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper
- Wash the carrot tops well, then dry a little with a clean tea towel. Remove and discard the stems, keeping the feathery leaves.
- Add the carrot tops, parsley, basil, garlic, parmesan and walnuts to a food processor and blitz until crumbly.
- With the machine running,slowly add the oil.
- Season to taste.
- Store covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Make sure your greens are fully washed before adding to the food processor as they tend to harbor excess dirt.
- If your nuts are too large, you may need to roughly chop them before adding them to the food processor. This will help them break down easier.
- Make sure you add in the oil slowly in order to fully incorporate the ingredients into a smooth sauce.
- Your nuts should be UNSALTED to make sure there isn’t too much salt in the pesto.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.