Carrot Top Pesto


I don't know about you, but I hate wasting anything! When I was packing boxes for our weekly CSA, it seemed a sad thing that these beautiful green carrot tops were often composted as soon as they reached a customers home. I did some research and while the info is sometimes conflicting, more pointed towards them being safe to eat in moderate quantities when organically grown. The same may not be true if we are talking about commercially grown carrots where the tops may have been sprayed with pesticides. 

Carrot greens do contain alkaloids and nitrates which some people can be sensitive too. If you test your carrot greens and they are extra bitter, then skip that bunch.

There are great nutritive properties that make me think that eating small amounts of organic carrot greens can be a very good thing! They have 6x the amount of Vitamin C than the root and a great source of Potassium and Calcium. Carrot greens have antiseptic qualities and can be juiced and used as a mouthwash (or just chew on some stem and leaves). 

When I stopped in to refill my Growler of Jun at Babe's Honey Farm (located at Galey Farms on Blenkinsop) last week and stock up on fresh raspberries and blueberries, I noticed the recipe for Carrot Top Pesto on the counter. I was happy to see others promoting this often neglected food source and sharing inspiration. Here is a copy of the recipe for you to test out. 


Carrot Top Pesto

Prep Times - 10 mins
Local Seasonal Foods Featured - Carrot tops, basil, garlic, pickled garlic scapes

1/2 cup toasted or sprouted walnuts (get yours from hOMe Grown Living Foods
1 small garlic clove (or more if you love your garlic) 
1 cup coarsely chopped carrot tops (organic) 
Big handful of basil leaves (about 1 cup) 
Juice of 1/2 small lemon
Sea Salt & Freshly ground pepper (fairly traded from the Gathering Place Trading
1/4 to 1/2 cup Olive Oil
Optional: pinch of red pepper flakes
Optional: 1 tsp capers or pickled garlic scapes
Optional: 1/4 cup parmesan or asiago cheese (sometimes I use goat feta) 

In a food processor, pulse together the walnuts and garlic. Add the carrot tops, basil, lemon, salt and pepper. Pulse again, then add 1/4 cup olive oil and pulse until combined. (make it as smooth or as chunky as you like). 

Scoop the pesto into a small bowl, and stir in up to 1/4 cup more olive oil. 

Taste and adjust seasonings and stir in a pinch of red pepper flakes. If adding grated cheese, capers or pickled scapes then add at the pulsing phase. 

Serve with toasted sourdough bread from Fry's Bakery as a base for brushchetta, scoop onto some fresh, local Cowichan Pasta or add a dollop to flavour up a soup. 

Other carrot top recipe ideas: 
Carrot Top & Potato Soup
Celery Root Salad with Carrot Top Vinaigrette
Carrot Greens sauteed with garlic and bacon

recipesElisabeth Bond