Those gorgeous multi-colored bunches of carrots with the leafy green tops are too cute to pass up, but every time I cut the tops off, a little pang of guilt would hit me. I juice beet tops and all types of greens, why wasn’t I using these? I found out that carrot tops are loaded with vitamins and minerals and what better way to use your carrot tops then to serve them with your carrots – a contrast of sweet roasted carrots and bitter, herby greens. Turn those bitter carrot tops into a pesto for a nutrient rich side dish that uses the veggie from root to top.
Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto
Serves 5-6 as side dish
20 small multi-colored carrots, cleaned with stem left on
2 T. organic olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
4 cups lightly packed washed carrot tops, roughly chopped
½ cup fresh basil leaves
½ cup walnuts, toasted
1 ounce parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. sea salt
½ cup organic extra virgin olive oil
Make the carrots: Heat oven to 450° F with a rack in the center. Toss cleaned carrots in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Transfer to a sheet pan in 1 layer and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until browned and tender.
As carrots cook, make the pesto: Combine the carrot tops and basil in a food processor, pulse, then add the nuts, cheese, garlic, and salt. Pulse again, and then with the machine continuously running, add the oil in a thin stream. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
Remove carrots from oven, and transfer to serving dish. Add dollops of pesto to the carrots and sprinkle with sea salt. Dress the reserved handful of carrot top sprigs with a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and a small pinch of salt, then top the carrot with the greens.