Can You Make Pesto With Carrot Tops?

Carrot top greens for pesto

Short answer
Yes, carrot tops make for a tasty, affordable, and pleasingly frugal pesto.

Long answer
Carrot tops have a flavour that is best described as being like parsley but with a distinct carrot undertone. The feathery, fern-like leaves have a slight bitterness and are rich in potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin K. They’re also known to help with digestion.

Too often discarded without a second thought, we highly recommend keeping your carrot tops, as they make for a cracking pesto. Just like wild garlic pesto, you may find that if the leaves are the only green you use, your sauce will taste too strong. That's why we recommend introducing some sweet basil and a dash of lemon juice to counterbalance the bitter notes.

Bright green carrot top pesto

Make sure you're fastidious about washing the leaves to remove any dirt, debris, or pesticide residues, even if you buy them from a supermarket where they will already have been washed. Ideally, buy organic if your budget allows.

Carrot top pesto can be used in the same way you use any other pesto and is lovely tossed through pasta, spread onto bruschetta, or incorporated into a vinaigrette. However, we think it's at its best when used to dress grilled or roasted root vegetables.

Carrot top pesto recipe for two generous servings.

Ingredient Quantity (g)
Olive oil 45
Carrot tops 20
Parmesan 20
Walnuts 15
Basil 10
Garlic 1/2 clove
Salt pinch
Lemon juice dash

Separate the basil and carrot leaves from their woody stems and wash thoroughly. Blot dry with a sheet of kitchen towel.

Add everything except the oil to a food processor and pulse until you reach your preferred texture.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and stream in the oil. Serve immediately.