Carrot Top Pesto Recipe: Another Fresh & Healthy Reason to Go to the Farmers Market by Donna John

Carrot Top Pesto Recipe: Another Fresh & Healthy Reason to Go to the Farmers Market

Wandering around a local farmers market is a favorite thing of mine to do on the weekends. My latest find from a local farmer was small baby carrots with their amazing green tops still attached. Lots and lots of carrots tops! I'm trying to reduce food waste and use everything, so I asked the man what he suggested I do with the beautiful tops. He immediately answered, "Carrot pesto." Many thanks to the farmer because carrot top pesto is absolutely delicious!

The carrot top pesto is made just like you would prepare a basil pesto. Chopped carrots tops and some of the tender stems are pulsed in a blender with pine nuts, fresh garlic, olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and black pepper. I stirred in a handful of extra grated Parmesan to add some more texture to the pesto. After my first taste, I knew I would always be on the lookout for carrots with lots of leaves.

Use this healthy carrot pesto as you would any pesto. Stir it into pasta, spoon it on grilled chicken, shrimp, fish, beef, pork or vegetables, or use it as a healthy dip with raw vegetables or crunchy breadsticks. I made roasted baby carrots topped with carrot pesto and it was heavenly. Store the pesto in an airtight container. You could even freeze some of it so you can enjoy it later. Hats off to farm-to-table cooking and reducing food waste!

Cuisine: American / Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: Makes about 1 cup


  • 2 cups chopped carrots tops (and a few stems, too)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (or your favorite nut or seed for pesto)
  • 2 - 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to stir in, if desired

Here's how to make it:

  1. Chop the carrots tops and a few tender stems to get 2 cups. To make this easier, dangle a few carrots tops at a time over a 2-cup measuring cup and use kitchen shears to chop directly into the container.
  2. Put the carrots tops, pine nuts and garlic into a blender. Pulse a few times to combine.
  3. Add the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it reaches desired consistency.
  4. Pulse until everything is thoroughly combined.
  5. Add a little extra grated Parmesan and stir in (do not blend), if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Put the carrot top pesto into a bowl. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or leave on the counter at room temperature if using soon.

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Blenders $25 & Up
Pine Nuts
Pine Nuts $5 & Up
Olive Oil
Olive Oil $4 & Up

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Elisa Schmitz
Wow, Donna John , this is amazing! I love that a farmer suggested such a genius way to use a food scrap that you might normally throw away. So excited for this recipe and more ideas for farm (or backyard garden) to table cooking!
Farmers markets are a great way to find new food ideas as well as supporting your local farmers. Love this.
Fun and fresh recipe!

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