Vegan Carrot Top Pesto

Think back to a time when you bought carrots that still had their lovely stems attached. (Hopefully it wasn’t thaaaat long ago). Perhaps you steer clear of the carrots with greens still on because you just throw ’em away as soon as you arrive home from the market. Stop tossing that green goodness away! I’m here to deliver a public service announcement: You can eat the carrot tops!! I mean, maybe you don’t want to just bite them right off the carrot reverse Buggs Bunny-style, but you can utilize them to bring a fresh flavor to some culinary staple recipes.

It’s pretty obvious that this recipe is very apropos for Earth Day, which is coming up on April 22. Using a food in it’s entirety, thereby reducing food waste, is very earth-friendly, and with this recipe for Vegan Carrot Top Pesto, it couldn’t be easier to do. So throw an Earth Day celebration, and whip up this pesto to really impress your friends. You could even do a carrot-on-carrot dish by topping caramelized, roasted carrots with the carrot top pesto. You’re welcome.

 vegan carrot top pesto

This pesto is perfect on pasta (duh), but it also makes a fabulous accompaniment to fish, chicken, or roasted vegetables.  Stir a dollop into grains like quinoa or farro for a fresh boost of flavor. The carrot tops have different kind of herby-ness than the traditional pesto herb of choice, basil. But “different” is refreshing, bright, and zesty- especially with the addition of lemon.

Instead of pine nuts, we’ve got some nourishing pumpkin seeds, which are full of zinc, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, just to name a few oh-so-important minerals. Nutritional yeast adds a subtle cheesy flavor, which allows us to keep this pesto vegan and appealing for all. (What up vegans, and dairy-free friends, I got you!) If you don’t have nutritional yeast on hand, don’t fret- you can always omit it. But I do highly recommend it for it’s versatility and high amount of B vitamins, so nab some to have on hand for all of your cheesy recipes!

vegan carrot top pesto

Let’s get into the recipe!  Just as a note, there isn’t an exact science to this. If your pesto is too tight, loosen it up with a glug of olive oil or a squeeze of lemon. If it’s not “nutty” enough, add more pumpkin seeds. Play with it and make it to your liking!

Vegan Carrot Top Pesto

  • 4 cups thoroughly washed carrot tops, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients to food processor or high speed blender and blend until ingredients are well incorporated and hold together well.  See, told you it was easy. 🙂

Tell me- How do you use pesto? Maybe you just eat it by the spoonful? (No judgement). I would also love to hear some of your favorite ways to use the parts of food we normally throw away! Have a fab week and a happy Earth Day!!