Carrot Top/Leaves/Greens ‘Pesto’ with Walnuts

Pasta z Natki Marchewki

Imagine you just came back from the farmer’s market. One of your trophies is a beautiful bunch of fresh spring carrots, together with a full panoply of green leaves on top. 

Carrots can be roasted, made into a salad, or perhaps transformed into a soup… But what about the greens? Should you just chuck them? That would be a shame. 

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know below.

Carrot leaves are safe to eat, so let’s transform them into something delicious.

I always go for this Carrot Top Pesto – it’s a vibrantly green sauce that goes well with… anything really. You can use it as a condiment, a spread, or as a sauce. 

Do you need any special ingredients or equipment to make this Carrot Top Pesto?

You’ll need a bunch (or two) of young carrot leaves. The fresher and greener – the better. Whenever I buy fresh carrots (for example to make this Cold Carrot Soup), I use up all the greens for this sauce.

Ingredients for Carrot Top pesto (from the left): fresh carrot greens / leaves, half a lemon, olive oil, walnuts and garlic.

The rest of the ingredients should be easily available in any major store.

Equipment-wise, you’ll need a decent blender, strong enough to tackle not only the carrot greens, but also the nuts. A medium-sized jar (for storing) will be useful too.

How to use this Carrot Greens Pesto?

You can treat it as a condiment, part of pierogi filling, or as a flavourful sandwich spread. 

I use it for a simple Carrot Top Pesto pasta: just cook some fresh noodles, add in a solid dollop of the greens, combine together and voilà – dinner’s ready. This works great with Kopytka Dumplings as well.

Carrot top pesto pasta, served in a bowl on top of a wooden board, with a jar of freshly made carrot leaves/greens pesto sauce.

Can you make this Carrot Leaves Pesto another way?

Yes – feel free to experiment with the ingredients. In this recipe, walnuts are used, but you can swap it for any other nut. Olive oil can be swapped for another mild-tasting oil, for example canola.

What diets is this Carrot Top Pesto suitable for?

This recipe is suitable for vegans and everyone who follows a gluten-free diet. It’s also low-carb and keto friendly. 

How long can you keep this Carrot Greens Pesto in the fridge?

Once you’ve prepared this recipe, it’s best to keep it in a jar (or in another type of container with a lid).

It’s worth covering the top completely with some more oil – that way we’re cutting the oxygen off, and the pesto won’t go off so quickly. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Can I freeze this Carrot Leaves Pesto?

Yes! To freeze, it’s best to move it over into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer for 2 hours or so, until frozen. Then you can move frozen pesto cubes in a resealable, freezer-friendly bag.

Make sure to label it with a description and a date. Aim to consume within 3 months.

Smacznego!

Jars filled with Carrot Top / Greens / Leaves Pesto with Walnuts
Carrot Top Pesto

Zero-Waste Carrot Top/Leaves/Greens 'Pesto' with Walnuts

Yield: 1 medium jar
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Carrot Top Pesto can be used as an accompaniment to many dishes, but it also tastes delicious stirred through a bowl of pasta.

This recipe makes enough to fill one medium jar (or two little ones).

Ingredients

  • top / leaves / greens of 1 bunch of carrots
  • 2-3 handfuls (3 oz, 85 g) walnuts or sunflower seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ lemon, juice
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil, for topping up (roughly 4-5 tbsp, 50-70 ml)
  • 2 pinches of salt, to season
  • pinch of Black ground pepper, to season

Instructions

  1. Rinse carrot leaves thoroughly, making sure there’s no leftover sand or soil. I rinse it in a bathtub or under the shower.
  2. Chop carrot leaves roughly, drop them into the food processor. 
  3. Add in the nuts, 3 garlic cloves and juice of half lemon. 
  4. Start blending, gradually adding olive oil as you go. Monitor the consistency, it needs to turn into a thick paste.
  5. Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and blend it in.
  6. Move into a jar and cover the top with a tablespoon of olive oil. That way we’re cutting off the oxygen and the carrot top pesto won’t turn dark.
  7. Serve with pasta, use in various fillings or as a condiment for sandwiches.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 229Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1170mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g

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Kasia Kronenberger

Kasia Kronenberger is the founder of Polonist, where she celebrates Poland’s very best food.
She’s a self-taught home cook, who – through her own culinary attempts – wants to show you how to recreate Polish flavours at home, wherever that is.
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