Carrots tops are food too. Which is why it’s so sad they often end up in the compost pile, or worse, the trash can. No, they are not bright orange and sweet and crunchy like their other half, but they are a great source of nutrients and flavor and shouldn’t be neglected. This carrot top pesto will make you into a believer. 

Like many leafy greens, they are slightly bitter but can also be a little sweet. If you eat carrot greens in their full, in-tact form they can be a little grassy and herbaceous. That’s why I like to blend these babies into a pesto. They add a delightful herbal flavor to the pesto and make a great substitute for basil, when basil is out of season.

 

Carrot Top Pesto | Paleo, Low-carb, Whole30 | The Real Food Effect by Candace Kennedy, Holistic Nutritionist

 

Why you should eat more carrot tops:

Carrots tops are a fantastic source of vitamin C and are a good source of folate. We’ve talked about the benefits of vitamin C in the past, so let’s take a look at folate. 

  • You need folate for proper methylation, an important process that produces glutathione, one of the most powerful antioxidants. Glutathione is an important factor when it comes to your body’s ability to detox.
  • Folate is an important factor in the production of neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin and studies show that folate can help combat symptoms of depression.[1, 2]
  • Folate is neuroprotective.[3] 
  • It is important for healthy fetal development, so it’s extra important for women who are pregnant.[4]
  • Folate helps reduce levels of inflammatory homocysteine and promotes cardiovascular health.[5]

So don’t be a jerk by tossing carrot tops to the wind. Instead, let carrot tops live out their nutrient-supplying destiny. Carrot top pesto is a tasty way to do this. Because who doesn’t love a good pesto?! Whip up a batch of this and use it throughout the week to add more flavor and nutrients to any dish. I love to put this on top of my eggs in the morning with a bit of sliced avocado. It’s also delicious on top of soups. Or, better yet, roast some carrots and then toss them with a bit of the carrot top pesto and you have yourself an amazing (yet easy) side dish or snack.

 

Tips to reduce food waste:

  • Since this is a food-waste-reducing recipe in nature, you’re already one step ahead of the curve. 
  • Save your parsley and cilantro stems to use for a stock. You can also throw the stems into the pesto. The fibrous nature of the stems isn’t noticeable after these herbs have been pureed, and they add the same bright and herbal flavors as the leaves. 

Important notes — buy organic:

Like all leafy greens, it’s extra important that you buy organic. If your local farmer isn’t certified organic, that’s okay. Just make sure they are not using harmful pesticides and chemicals in their farming practices. These chemicals are absorbed into the leaves and you won’t be able to wash them off by rinsing them with water. 

 

Carrot Top Pesto | Paleo, Low-carb, Whole30 | The Real Food Effect by Candace Kennedy, Holistic Nutritionist

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup carrot tops (lightly packed)
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 2 T olive oil

 

Here’s what you do:

  1. Turn your stove to medium-low heat and grab a medium-sized skillet. Lightly toast the walnuts until they start to become fragrant. Stir constantly and be careful not to over-toast or burn the walnuts.
  2. In your food processor, pulse all of the ingredients, including the toasted walnuts, until everything is well-combined and forms a coarse pesto.
  3. If you want a more thin pesto, add a few more tablespoons of olive oil, one at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.
  4. Serve the carrot top pesto over roasted vegetables, soups, baked chicken, or spaghetti squash. 

 

 

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Carrot Top Pesto | Paleo, Low-carb, Whole30 | The Real Food Effect by Candace Kennedy, Holistic Nutritionist

 

 

Printer-friendly recipe card:

Walnut and Carrot Top Pesto
Yields 1
This Walnut and Carrot Top Pesto recipe is full of flavor and important nutrients, including vitamin C and folate. It's also a great way to help reduce food waste and put those herbaceous carrot tops to good use.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup carrot tops (lightly packed)
  2. 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley
  3. 1/4 cup cilantro
  4. 1/4 cup walnuts
  5. 1 garlic clove
  6. 1 T lemon juice
  7. Zest of 1 lemon
  8. 1/4 t sea salt
  9. 2 T olive oil
Instructions
  1. Over medium heat, lightly toast the walnuts until they start to become fragrant. Stir constantly and be careful not to over-toast or burn the walnuts.
  2. In your food processor, pulse all of the ingredients, including the toasted walnuts, until everything is well-combined and forms a coarse pesto.
  3. If you want a more thin pesto, add a few more tablespoons of olive oil, one at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.
  4. Serve over roasted vegetables, soups, baked chicken, or spaghetti squash.
Notes
  1. You can use any type of nut you have on hand. Pine nuts and pecans both work really well in this recipe if you don't have walnuts.
Candace K. Nutrition http://candacekennedy.com/

 

References:

[1] http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2007-12463-002

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1974941

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26505396

[4] https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/folic-acid-in-pregnancy-language-delay-in-children/

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23955381

 


Important Notes:

I am not a doctor, and I don’t claim to be one. I can’t prevent, treat, cure or diagnose illness or disease. The information presented on this website is not meant to replace a one-on-one relationship with your health care professional and is not intended as medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. The purpose of this website is to share knowledge from my research and experience. I encourage you to make your own decisions regarding your health care based on your own research and relationship with your healthcare professional. 

I make a small commission from the product links above, although the price of the products stays the same for you, whether or not you purchase through my affiliate links. You can purchase these products directly from the sites if you don’t wish to use my affiliate links.

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