Carrot Top Pesto

A photo of freshly prepared carrot top pesto


  • One bunch of carrot tops (roughly 2 cups when you chop them)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Lemon juice
  • Olive oil (usually around 1/4 cup)
  • Salt to taste (usually around 1/2 teaspoon)
  • *Optional: You can add 1/4 cup of nuts if you like, but if you do, you’ll need to adjust how much oil you add


You will need a high-powered blender for this. Even if you have a Vitamix, I’d recommend shopping off thick stems. No need to chop the leaves. Bring a large enough pot of water to contain the top to a boil. I like to do a really quick parboil (basically boiling something for under 2 minutes or so) on the leaves for a slightly milder flavor. When the water starts to boil, put in the tops for no more than 2 minutes. If you’re not using the water as stock, you can just dump everything in a strainer. If you want to save the water, scoop out the tops with a slotted spoon and put in the strainer to drain off as much water as possible. After that, I usually lay out a dish towel and put the tops on that to further get water off.

Next, add a little bit of oil into your blender along with the lemon juice and the tops. Pulse it to mix it up a bit then turn it up to high while you add more oil until it gets to a pesto consistency (kind of like the consistency of mashed potatoes but with a little texture). Add the salt. At this point you can also add nuts if you’re doing that (and note that you’ll probably have to use a little more oil). Most blenders have a small, capped, hold on the top of the lid that you can open while it’s running to add more ingredients. I just pour small amounts of oil in that way and watch what the consistency is. You can turn it off to check the consistency as well as give it a taste to see if you need to add more salt.

Once you’ve got your pesto, it will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze it and it will keep about 6 months. Pesto is super versatile! You can use it on pasta, vegetables, toast … I’ve even used it as a chip dip.

Time: usually about 20 minutes
Servings: When all is said and done, you usually have close to a cup of pesto.

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