A twist on classic basil pesto, this Carrot Leaf Pesto recipe is not only delicious but helps reduce waste! Carrot tops are edible and a great way to make healthy and nutritious meals.
Are Carrot Greens Edible?
Yes! Carrot greens are definitely edible. They smell and taste a little like a carrot. They have a mild bitterness and "green" taste similar to parsley.
Are Carrot Tops Healthy?
Yes, not only are they edible, they are healthy too! They are rich in nutrients, containing around six times more vitamin C than the carrot itself, as well as calcium and potassium to name a few.
Ingredients Needed to Make Carrot Leaf Pesto
- a garlic clove
- walnuts (could also use pine nuts or almonds)
- fresh carrot leaves (tops)
- fresh basil leaves
- shredded parmesan cheese
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
How to Make Pesto with Carrot Leaves
- First, place the garlic and nuts into a food processor and pulse until you get a paste.
- Add the carrot greens, basil, and parmesan cheese and process until everything is nicely combined.
- Drizzle in the olive oil while processing until you get your desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Where to Find Carrots with the tops on
Some organic grocery stores will have carrots with the tops still attached as well as some farmer's markets. The other option is to grow carrots yourself! Below is a photo of the multi-colored carrots from my garden this year. While the carrots are in some crazy shapes and sizes, they are delicious and produced a ton of greens!
How to serve Carrot Greens Pesto
- Put it on the carrots! Roast up your carrots in the oven and add the pesto as a sauce. This is a healthy and delicious side dish.
- Add it to pasta for a burst of fresh flavor.
- Use it to kick up the flavor in your favorite soup.
- Put it on your favorite sandwich.
- Brush it on chicken before baking like this dish below: Baked Chicken Breast with Roasted Carrots and Brussel Sprouts covered in Carrot Greens Pesto!
- Use it as a dip with your favorite fresh veggies, cheese, and crackers.
How long will Homemade Pesto Last?
Homemade pesto will last in the fridge, covered for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Just make sure you use a container with a sealable lid when freezing or a plastic bag made for the freezer. If you make this pesto ahead of time and plan to serve later in the day, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto to prevent a crust or discoloration from forming.
Why Carrot Top Pesto is so great
- One of the things I love about Carrot Greens Pesto is that is means there is almost no food waste! I love it when I can use all or almost all of an ingredient.
- As I mentioned, carrot tops offer some great nutritional value and an interesting but mild "green" flavor
- Carrot pesto is very easy to make
- Pesto made from carrot greens is Gluten Free!
- If you want a Vegan option, change out the parmesan cheese with a vegan-friendly cheese substitute.
- Pesto made from carrot greens will complement a variety of dishes including pasta, salads, meat, and more!
- The color of the homemade pesto is amazing!!
- You can use different ingredients to your liking for this pesto recipe like subbing a different nut, a different complimentary herb such as arugula or add a little spice with red pepper flakes.
More Fresh and Delicious Recipes to Try
- Healthy Shrimp Ceviche
- Gluten-Free Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Bake
- Baked Chile Rellenos
- Simple Whole Roasted Chicken
- Easy French Onion Soup
Carrot Leaf Pesto
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 tablespoons walnuts (could also use pine nuts or almonds)
- ½ cup fresh carrot top greens
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, gently packed
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add the garlic and nuts to the food processor and pulse until you get a paste.
- Next, add the carrot greens, basil, and parmesan and continue to process until everything is nicely combined into another paste.
- Drizzle in the olive oil while processing until you get the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- I find that because this recipe has raw garlic if the pesto has a chance to chill in the fridge the spicy garlic flavor tones down a bit. You could also cook the garlic in the olive oil for a minute or two on the stove before adding if you want a milder, sweeter garlic flavor.
- If you like a thinner, sauce-like consistency you may want to add more olive oil or less if you like a thicker pesto.
- If storing this pesto in the fridge before serving, place plastic wrap directly on the surface to avoid a crust or discolorization.
Any nutrition calculations are only estimates using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
Did you make this Carrot Leaf Pesto Recipe?
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Love the recipe! Thanks for sharing.
And not for nothing, those baby carrots are considered unmarketable "seconds"- i.e. less than visually pleasing carrots. So shaving them down and turning them into marketable baby carrots actually prevents quite a bit of food waste. Additionally, the carrot shavings can be used as flour. Companies that make baby carrots often sell the shavings to a secondary place for just that reason.
Baby carrots, turns out, PREVENT quite a bit of food waste!
Thanks, Cari! And thanks for that tidbit of information, I love learning new things, especially when it's good for everyone. I will say, my "ugly" carrots tasted so amazing, there is nothing better than organic food from your garden 😁🥕.
Carrot green pesto looks yum love it
Yum....so perfect, since I hate to waste food...and this is a yummy way for those tops to avoid the compost bin. Thanks.
I totally agree, Debra, I hate wasting food too.
Thanks for the recipe! Now I have use for every part of the carrot!😁
You are so welcome, Capri!
Amanda Marie Boyle says
So glad I found this. My favorite market only sells carrots with greens and I never knew what to do with them!
Yay, this will be perfect for you!
I love pesto and this is such a great version of it! Going to give it a try.
Oh good, the carrot tops add such a nice change to traditional pesto.
One way to practice zero waste. I love this recipe, I have to look for carrots with greens
Heather Kroska says
Thank you for the recipe and new idea! What a great way to use something we usually throw away!
You are welcome, Heather! I hope you get a chance to try it.
Sherry Ronning says
I love pesto but have never thought of making it with carrot greens! Thanks for the idea Now I have something to make with the tops of my carrots when they come out of the garden.
You're welcome, Sherry, this is the best recipe if you grow your own carrots!
Love this! We love cutting down on waste where possible, and this is such a delicious way to do so.
Thanks, Alexandra, cutting down on waste always feels so good.
Kasy Allen says
My kiddo has a nut allergy, so we don't usually buy pesto, but always make it homemade and just leave out the nuts. I love the addition of the carrot tops and not having waste from the garden. Great recipe!
Kasy, you can absolutely leave the nuts out of this pesto as well. Homemade is always better!
Sally - My Custard Pie says
Wholeheartedly support recipes that are frugal and use delicious edible parts of the plant that are often thrown away.
Thanks, Sally! It's always a good feeling to waste less.
Lisa Huff says
I would never have thought of adding carrot greens to a pesto. Genius!
I can't take credit for the idea but it does make a great pesto sauce!
Taylor Kiser says
I love pesto! I have everything I need to make this! Can’t wait!
Oh good, you will love this version as well I'm sure of it!
This is our favourite way to use carrot greens. Such a great way to reduce food waste.
Yes, I totally agree!!