Carrot Top Pesto

Hello all! I have not fallen off the face of the earth. 🙂 I am still here, but have been rather stuck in the whirlwind known as the end of the school year. The end of the school year always seems to be a blur. It’s almost as if spring break accelerates the arrival of Summer and we find ourselves in a whirlwind of time, desperately trying to catch up and accomplish all that needs to be done before the days of summer relaxation can begin. The last few weeks have been kind of like that for me. Between shuttling my now 7 year old to school and soccer, carpool, homework, nightly dinners, keeping up with my own schoolwork and (gulp) finals, I have still been making healthful meals and trying to find new ways to use my CSA box contents. I received a new box today, but am going to post the contents tomorrow.

Today I want to share that a) I did make cookies on cookie friday, even though I didn’t post them. b) I made carrot top pesto! From carrot tops! The green leaves that grow out of the top of my beautiful CSA carrots. c) We also finally acquired an item we had been ogling for a very long time– a Vitamix blender. I’ve been drinking a large portion of my fruits and veggies lately. I apologize beforehand if I have a bit of Vitamix fever in the coming weeks.. I will say that even though the Vitamix is touted as a juicer, it doesn’t really juice like a juicer. It makes wholemeal juice, meaning that the pulp and fiber are all pulverized into the juice which results in a smoothie texture. It works for me as long as I think of it as a smoothie and not juice.

On to the carrot top pesto. I had been wanting to make carrot top pesto for a while, but couldn’t bring myself to do it.The leaves are beautiful, but they taste so different from anything I know that I wasn’t sure I could successfully pull off using them in a recipe. My CSA put up a recipe for carrot top pesto on their blog a while back, but I was skeptical. Our last box had some insanely huge heirloom carrots in it, and the leaves were abundant and very pretty. I really want to make our CSA experience as waste free as possible so I decided to give the pesto a whirl. I did not follow a recipe, but did my usual method of pureeing and adding as I went along to suit my taste. I had one stalk of green garlic left and I decided to use that so the pesto wouldn’t consist of just the bitter carrot tops. I also added some mint leaves as I had a lot of those and thought it would add some interest. I also used some lemon juice to cut the bitterness. It worked really well. I used some of the pesto for dinner with pasta and froze the rest in an ice cube tray (1 TB in each compartment), then transferred to a freezer storage bag. I had leftover pasta which I turned into a pasta frittata the next morning.

Carrot Top Pesto

carrot top pesto ready for freezing

3 cups of carrot top greens, washed and spun dry

1 whole stalk of green garlic, or 2 garlic cloves, minced

12 mint leaves

1/4 cup grated parmesan (I used a parm/romano mix)

1 tsp black pepper

1 TB lemon juice

olive oil ( I didn’t measure. I just streamed it into the food processor to get a nice paste. I would suggest starting with 1/4 C and adjusting to suit your preferred consistency.)

Add everything to your food processor and whir away until you have a nice paste. Separate for freezing like I did, or store in a glass jar in the fridge to use during the week.

Carrot top pesto with penne

I will share the cookies I made later in the week.