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Carrot Top Pesto


I know it’s the time for spring cleaning and all, but the truth is that I really hate throwing things out. Every season, I go through my closets and drawers. I organize my things into piles, I take inventory, and I try to consolidate, but in the end, I get rid of relatively little.  It is like a constant struggle with myself.

The same is true with food. I always try to buy what I know I’ll eat, and I compost a lot of my kitchen scraps (totally not gross, I promise), but sometimes even that’s not enough to alleviate the post-waste guilt of associated with a full garbage can. 

The worst offender? Carrots. And their f*&ing green, leafy tops. Here are the greens from the baby carrots I used in last week’s salad.  They are like three times the size of the actual carrots themselves. 


When faced with a giant mass of green, there are two options: cook them down or make a pesto. This time, I opted for pesto.  My family’s Italian, and let me tell you, there’s nothing like Italian guilt to motivate a solution. 

Spread it on some bread and make a panino. Toss it with some pasta and sun dried tomatoes. Mix it into an omelette. Freeze whatever’s left over for another day. Whatever you do, don’t toss those carrot greens in the trash.

Ingredients (makes about 3/4 cup):

  • 2 cups of carrot top fronds
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 tablespoons of walnut halves
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of goat cheese
  • salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Make the pesto:

You want to make this pesto right when you bring the carrots home from the store or farmer’s market because the longer they sit in your refrigerator, the less fresh the greens will become. 


Remove the tops from the carrots and cut off some of the stems. Wash the carrot tops well and add to a food processor or blender along with the garlic and walnut halves. Process for a few minutes, until everything is chopped finely. Add the lemon juice and one tablespoon of olive oil and blend for another minute. You may need to add another tablespoon of olive oil, depending on how thick or thin you want your pesto. Add the salt and pepper to taste, blend for another few seconds, and then stir in the goat cheese. 

Serve tossed with pasta, spread on some bread for a panino, or as a dip. Refrigerate or freeze whatever you don’t use immediately.