Carrot Top Pesto – Two Ways

One vegan, one leaning on traditional pesto with Parmesan, both delicious.


Danielle Murr's Cavatappi with Carrot Top Pesto, Broccoli & Sriracha

Danielle Murr’s Cavatappi with Carrot Top Pesto, Broccoli & Sriracha

2 cups carrot tops
1 garlic clove
3 tbsp macadamia or pine nuts
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Wash and trim fresh carrot tops, set aside
2. Place garlic and nuts in a food processor or similar device to a chunky, yet pasty, consistency
3. Add basil, Paremsan, and carrot tops, pulse until incorporated but not smooth.
4. Pour in olive oil while pulsing, until combined.
5. Salt and pepper to taste. Can be made up to one day in advance, stored in the refrigerator.

Vegan – As I am not Vegan, this recipe was prepared and tasted off the Wholy Goodness website. The addition of the avocado makes this a creamy, luxurious pesto treat.

2-3 large handfuls carrot tops
1/2 ripe avocado
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 garlic cloves
large handful of walnuts
Drizzle of avocado or extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)*
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Wash and trim hard stems off carrot tops, put in food processor
2. Add avocado, lemon juice, garlic, and oil to the food processor and blend until well combined
3. Add walnuts, salt and pepper, and blend again until the nuts are well chopped and combined with the remaining ingredients. Can be made up to one day in advance, stored in the refrigerator.

*I didn’t have avocado oil and the EVOO worked

Garlic Scape Pesto

Another seasonal favorite are the beautiful garlic scapes that start coming in this time of year. Garlic scapes are the green shoots that grow off the tops of garlic and have a garlicy, chive like flavor. While you can chop them up and throw them on top of a salad, this simple garlic chive pesto is an excellent introduction to their beautiful taste.

1 cup chopped garlic scapes
1/3 cup EVOO
handful nuts of choice (cashews or pine nuts go well)
1/3 cup Parmesan
1 tsp salt
A couple tabelspoons of water, on hand

Combine all ingredients except water in food processor. Add water 1 tbsp at a time to desired consistency.

Radish Leaf and Basil Pesto

by Marykate Smith Despres, Salem Depot

I was a bit disappointed when my husband pulled out the radishes. I like nearly all other root vegetables, some more than others, but these peppery little knobs are not my favorite. After scouring my favorite cookbooks and websites for recipes, I felt sorely disappointed in the lack preparations that offered something more than just slicing and pairing with one’s favorite salad, sandwich or dip.

Things changed, however, when I focused instead on radish greens. As it turns out, the leaves of this little root are, in fact, edible and are perfect for making pesto! I found a great many radish leaf pesto recipes and decided to take the idea and make it my own. Pesto is, essentially, a puree of raw greens, nuts and hard cheese. So, I grabbed what I had on hand that fell into these three categories and this is what I came up with:

1 bunch radish greens

about 2 cups packed fresh basil

1/3 cup crunchy, unsalted almond butter

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 large cloves garlic

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1/4 tsp ground ginger

All you need to do is clean your greens, peel your garlic, toss everything in the food processor, and blend until smooth. You can save your pesto to use as sandwich spread or a snack with crackers (you could even dip those sliced raw radishes into their own pesto!), or turn it into a quick dinner like I did by mixing it into your favorite pasta.

Now it’s your turn!

Start with this basic equation: radish greens + nuts + hard cheese = pesto. Post your radish leaf pesto variations in the comments below and tell us how you use it!