Carrot tops are perfect for pesto!
The greens atop your carrot bunches are totally edible and are great in pesto! Read on for how to spin them into nutty, herbal goodness in this guest post from Amanda Pollon (and, while you're here, check out Amanda's beautiful handmade clothing at her Etsy shop!)
In anticipation of matzo ball soup and roasted carrots to feed 8 people for Passover, I requested an extra pound of carrots when I saw them as option from Hungry Harvest. I was pleasantly surprised that they came with their greens on this time! So after putting away the rest of our fruits and veggies from the box, I lopped off the greens and pulled out our immersion blender to make pesto. We used the pesto in a pasta dish (recipe below!), but it's also great as a dip, or mixed into hummus or Greek yogurt.
Carrot Top Pesto
Carrot greens. From 2 bunches, about 2 cups, roughly chopped to fit into blender cup or food processor bowl. Stems too, not just the leaves.
Fresh basil or another fresh herb (optional). About 1/4 cup packed. If you don't have access to fresh basil, you can sub another fresh herb, or omit entirely. Dried will taste fine, but you need more than is practical.
2 cloves garlic.
Pine nuts or another type of nut. About 1/3 cup, though add more or less or mix depending on what you have. I have made this with almonds or walnuts in the past, simply because that's what we had on hand.
Parmesan cheese - 1/4 cup, grated (optional - omit for vegan option, but add a pinch of salt to compensate).
Olive oil. No real need to measure, just add until the consistency is right. Probably ~1/4 cup.
Directions 1. Add all ingredients except the olive oil to your immersion blender cup, blender, magic bullet, food processor, mortar and pestle, or any other blending tool of your choice.
2. Blend until it begins to form a paste. Drizzle in oil a little at a time until everything is incorporated nicely and it forms a paste at your desired consistency. Remember that you can always thin it out with more oil when you use it.
3. Spoon into a jar or any container with a lid. Cover the top of the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent oxidation. If oxidation does occur (the pesto will turn a darker green) it's perfectly fine to eat, just not quite as pretty. If you won't be using the pesto within the next several days, spoon into ice cube trays and freeze. Now you have perfectly proportioned helpings of pesto to toss into pasta dishes, etc.
4. You can use it as a dip, on its own, or mixed with hummus or greek yogurt. Just bring it up to room temperature before serving, as the olive oil will harden a bit in the refrigerator. Want to make pasta with it? Read on!
Pasta with Carrot Top Pesto
Carrot top pesto (see above :-) )
Pasta of your choice
Veggies of your choice. We've used tomatoes and mushrooms.
1. Cook and drain your pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
2. While the water is boiling and the pasta is cooking, saute any vegetables you want to add (we've used tomatoes and mushrooms in the past).
3. Add the pasta.
4. Add enough pesto to coat the pasta
5. Thin out with the reserved cooking water and stir until everything is incorporated and the pasta is well coated.