Stop throwing away your carrot tops! You are missing out on the most delicious cheesy cashew carrot top pesto which pairs perfectly with roasted carrots.
As I was leaving my CSA pickup today I walked past a garbage bin filled with carrot tops. The horror!! It took every ounce of self-discipline to not dive head first into the garbage and salvage all of those gorgeous tops.
I understand, it's easier to bring carrots home when you don't have those long bugs-bunny like tops dangling out of your bag, but it is so heartbreaking to think of the batches and batches of carrot top pesto you could make.
The tops of carrots taste earthy and sweet like, well, like carrots, but they have a grassy finish similar to parsley. I have used them in many different ways like grilled in cute carrot top bunches, but whirling carrot tops into a pesto is my absolute favorite.
When you bring home your carrots (tops intact) from the market, remove the tops and store them separately. The longer the tops are attached to the carrots the more bitter the carrots will become.
Then roast your carrots with olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, and salt and pepper and when they are perfectly caramelized and showing a bit of color from roasting toss them with your cashew carrot top pesto.
I have had this as a main dish (because why not #plantsrock) or a side dish with fish or grilled chicken. I typically have pesto left over which Jordan very quickly tosses with fresh pasta.
Simply boil your pasta of choice (in heavily salted water) drain, reserve some of the pasta cooking liquid, and toss pasta with cooking liquid and pesto until you thin the pesto out enough that it evenly coats the noodles.
A simple use for a bit of a vegetable that is typically tossed away. Eating healthy isn't expensive, throwing out healthy food is.
We can pop this recipe into the “don't throw that bit away” category, along with fennel – top simple syrup and pickled swiss chard stems.
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Cashew Carrot Top Pesto with Roasted Carrots
- 1/4 cup toasted cashews
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup loosely packed carrot tops
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese or Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350° spread cashews out, in a single layer, on a sheet tray. Roast in oven for 5 minutes, toss, continue roasting for 2 more minutes. Set aside
- In the bowl of a food processor pulse cashews and garlic until they resemble sand. Add carrot tops, parsley, cheese, salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth and well combined. Drizzle in olive oil and continue pulsing until well combined. If pesto becomes stiff and collects together like a large ball add more olive oil or a splash of vegetable stock.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Toss carrots with olive oil and spices. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, tossing once during cooking.
- Remove from oven, toss with pesto.
*Nutritional Information is for Pesto only – typically I use 4 servings of pesto for carrots and have 2 remaining*
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