Looking for a delicious and healthy way to use up those carrot greens? Well, look no further than this amazing Carrot Greens Pesto Recipe! This pesto is perfect for using any leftover carrot tops, and it's super easy to make and enjoy either warm or in a cold pasta salad. Plus, it's loaded with healthy nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate.
We love making pestos as they are usually made in 5-minutes using just a few ingredients and a food processor. They can then be used immediately or stored to enhance any meal like pasta or sandwiches, and even add a dollop to any sauce and take it to the next level.
How do you use carrot tops?
Pesto is a great way to add flavor to any dish, and this recipe is simple and quick to make. You can enjoy this great recipe on pizza, sweet potato, and pasta dishes, add a dollop on your favorite side dish, and even make pasta salads as we do with this recipe.
We love no-churn cooking, and it is the perfect way to join the Environmental consciousness movement, reducing our food waste, especially as Earth Day comes.
Use your pineapple peels to make pineapple water and your watermelon rinds to make gazpacho!
- Indulge in a creamy, delicious pasta salad that's perfect for any celebration.
- Enjoy the taste of fresh pesto with every bite.
Try this cold pasta salad recipe and see how you like it. We promise you won't be disappointed!
To make this pesto, you need almost the same ingredients you would use in a traditional pesto recipe, changing the herbs for the carrot tops and the parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast to vegan parmesan cheese.
- Fresh organic carrot greens: Carrot greens are the leafy tops of carrots, which are rich in vitamins and minerals, and they provide a unique, earthy flavor to the pesto.
- Nutritional yeast (or vegan parmesan cheese): Nutritional yeast adds a savory, umami taste and is often used as a vegan cheese substitute. In contrast, vegan parmesan cheese provides a similar flavor and texture to traditional parmesan cheese.
- Lemon juice adds brightness and acidity to the pesto, balancing out the richness of the other ingredients and enhancing the overall flavor.
- Cashew nuts or pine nuts: Both nuts provide a rich, creamy texture when blended into the pesto, and they add a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that complements the other ingredients.
- Garlic: Garlic adds a robust, pungent flavor to the pesto, providing depth and complexity while enhancing the taste of the other ingredients.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: Olive oil is used as a base to create a smooth, emulsified sauce and adds a fruity, slightly bitter flavor, as well as healthy fats.
- Red chili flakes contribute a touch of heat and spiciness to the pesto, balancing the other flavors and adding a kick to the dish.
- Gluten-free pasta is the vehicle for the flavorful pesto sauce and provides a delicious, allergy-friendly option for those avoiding gluten in their diets.
See quantities and complete instructions in the recipe card.
🤔 How to make carrot top pesto
This vegan carrot top pesto takes only 10 minutes and requires you to follow very simple steps.
Cut the carrot tops
Remove the carrot greens about half-inch above the carrots.
Then blanch the carrot stems for 30 seconds in boiling water.
Continue to pad dry them with a clean table cloth. Then cut the tough stems roughly to blend better, and don't get stuck with the blades.
Add all the ingredients to an immersion blender or food processor.
Blend all the ingredients until the pesto reaches the desired consistency. You might have to stop the blades, scrape down the sides with a spatula, and then pulse.
Adjust the seasoning
Add an extra garlic clove if you want the carrot top pesto to be more garlicky. Add more olive oil for a more liquid pesto. You can also fine-tune the acidity by adding some extra lemon juice.
I prefer to add lemon juice little by little as it can drastically affect the end result, and then you need to start fine-tuning all the rest to counterbalance it.
Make that pasta salad
Boil the gluten-free pasta as per package directions, adding salt. Before straining the pasta on a colander, save some of the pasta water, which will be starchy, so when you add the pesto to your strained pasta.
Add water little by little to achieve the creamiest texture. I use about ¾ cup of starchy water.
Adjust with salt and pepper if needed.
Serving. You can enjoy this pasta warm immediately after cooking it or serve it cold as a salad. If serving as a cold summer salad, make sure to remove it from the fridge 15 minutes before serving so it reaches room temperature.
I added different leafy greens and basil to this recipe, which work very well. Most of the time, I just use the carrot greens, as I think using more herbs just misses the point of using usually discarded products by adding more products of the same kind.
Also, carrots and greens are super delicious and don't need additional help from other herbs, but you can always play around with this recipe.
Nuts - any nuts work on carrot top recipes. Our favorite carrot top pairings are cashews, pine nuts, toasted pistachios, and hulled, toasted almonds. Walnuts are a little milder, but if you toast them first, they can enhance the pesto flavor.
Cold pasta salad
Make sure you store leftovers in an airtight container and not just on a plate in the fridge because pasta tends to take "fridge smells."
Before eating your pasta salad, please bring it to room temperature, as cold salad tends to reacquire more salt and pepper, which is unnecessary sodium in your dish.
You can store this carrot top pesto pasta in the fridge for up to a week.
Carrot top pesto leftovers
Store your leftover pesto in a closed container with a lid. Add extra olive oil to ensure the surface is covered. This will help prevent mold from forming on the surface.
You can store the carrot greens pesto in the fridge for up to a week.
Yes! You can add chopped carrot greens to your salads and also sauté them in a skillet. If you love creative ways to reuse your meals' leftovers you will love our post on the topic.
We love zero-waste meals and making the best out of veggie products, as we do on our Watermelon Rind Gazpacho soup, a great and refreshing summery cold beverage.
Yes, they are. In fact, this carrot top pesto can be made without blanching the carrot greens. I like the texture better when they have been slightly cooked.
I even use the thick stems, as I find that they add a delicious peppery flavor to this wonderful recipe.
Yes, everything on this root vegetable is edible and nutritious. Carrot leaves are rich in vitamins A, C, K, and iron. They're also high in fiber which is good for digestive health and absorption of nutrients.
Yes, you eat carrot tops and also juice them as you would juice other leafy greens. You can enjoy the benefits of carrots and their tops in juices or in savory meals like our carrot and ginger soup, one of our carrots' favorite recipes.
If you buy carrots in your farmers' market, they are likely to be fresh and thus more nutritious but also last less.
That's why I usually make the carrot top pesto when I come back from the market, to make sure the carrot leaves don't wilt. Then I use it on my salads or pasta as I would do with any traditional pesto.
You can extend their life, by submerging carrot greens in cold water and keeping them in the fridge until you use them.
📚 More pesto recipes
We are fans of this top carrot pesto and all kinds of pesto recipes, and we have plenty of recipes on this site.
We are based in Italy, so it is quite common not only to consume it but to make your own at home.
Pestos take minutes to create and deliver many flavors and are super versatile. You can add them to many recipes and even elevate your regular pizza or marinara sauce, just adding a dollop of basil pesto as it cooks.
If you are like us and like experimenting, you will surely love our peppery arugula pesto, the kale and sage pesto, and the more playful mint pesto.
We also like using the dried tomato pesto for an easy, quick dinner or as a base for tomato and vegan ricotta filling for ravioli.
Try our roasted red pepper tofu pesto recipe for an oil-free, healthier pesto option.
⭐ If you try this recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Carrot Greens Pesto Cold Pasta Salad Recipe | Vegan + GF
- 1 bunch carrot tops about 3 oz, blanched and pad dry
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast or homemade vegan parmesan
- ½ lemon juiced
- ½ cup cashew nuts roasted salted or pine nuts
- 1 clove garlic or ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic powder
- ⅓ cup olive oil extra-virgin
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 10 oz gluten-free pasta such as fusilli. 300 grams (100 grams per person)
- ¾ cup pasta water
- Cut the carrot tops. Then blanch for 30 seconds in boiling water and then pad dry them with a clean table cloth.
- Blend all the ingredients in an immersion blender or food processor until the pesto reaches the desired consistency. You might have to stop and scrape down the sides with a spatula.
- Adjust the seasoning. If you want it to be more garlicky, add an extra garlic clove. Add more olive oil for a more liquid pesto.
If making pasta
- You can start boiling water before making your pesto because it is made fast!
- Boil the pasta as per package directions, with salt. Before straining the pasta on a colander, save some of the pasta water, which will be starchy, so when you add the pesto to your strained pasta. Add water little by little to achieve the creamiest texture. I use about ¾ cup of starchy water.
- Serving. You can enjoy this pasta warm immediately after cooking it or serve it cold as a salad. If serving as a cold summer salad, make sure to remove it from the fridge 15 minutes before serving, so it reaches room temperature.
If your sun-dried tomatoes come in, omit the olive oil.
Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
🌡️ Food safety
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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This is perfect for the upcoming farmers' market season. Can't wait to pick up some fresh carrots to try this. Thank you for a fabulous recipe
super tasty enjoyed hot or cold! thanks for the recipe
I recently made this for dinner and my whole family loved it! It is a simple and easy to make recipe that turns out so good.
Hey Jacqui, that's great to know! Thanks for your feedback! We love this recipe too, especially now during springtime! 🙂
This looks absolutely amazing! I love pasta and I love pesto. Winner!
Yep, pasta and pesto is a match made in heaven!
This looks like such a good way to use up carrot tops. Definitely giving it a try.
Super Dannii" Let us know how it goes! we are sure you will love this zero-waste pesto recipe!
This is my favorite way to use carrot greens! Such a delicious pesto alternative and great way to reduce food waste.
Sure thing! We love reducing waste as much as we can, and even use the carrot tops of those carrots that actually failed to fully grow in our garden... the flavor is really delicate!
Claudia Lamascolo says
This was the best side dish everyone raved about it will make it again!
I am glad you enjoyed this pesto pasta salad, Claudia! It is a favorite in the house as well!
I love the carrot top pesto, but this is the first time I made a plant-based version! Really very good, thanks a lot! 🙂
I am glad you liked this vegan version, Ieva! Thanks for your review!