Carrot Top Pesto

Recipe from Anna Thomas’s Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore: Dinner for Everyone at the Table, W.W. Norton, 2016.  

How many times have you thrown away those bushy green tops? Me, too—but no more. Now I make this deliciously peppery, textured pesto. Have it as a condiment with roasted spring carrots, or roasted new potatoes. Or spread it on crostini with a dab of white cheese.  

Be sure you have fresh, bright green carrot tops. And if you have no basil to add to the mix, try parsley or cilantro and a few fennel greens instead. Makes about 2 cups. 

  • 4 ounces trimmed carrot tops (from 1 or 2 bunches), big stems trimmed off  
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • ¼ cup (1 ounce) walnuts 
  • 1 ounce fresh basil leaves, chopped (about ½ cup) 
  • ½ ounce fresh mint leaves, chopped (½ cup), plus more to taste 
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt 
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 

Pull the fronds of the carrot tops off the stems and discard the stems. Carrot tops have a firm, chewy texture, but the stems are tough. Wash and spin-dry the greens. 

Pulse the garlic and walnuts briefly in a food processor, then add the various greens and the salt and pulse again, scraping down the sides of the container as needed, until the greens are finely chopped. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and process the pesto until it is smooth.