Sunday, July 28, 2013

Creamy Carrot Top Pesto...

So, you go to the farmer’s market, and you see bunches upon bunches of beautiful long, thin, baby carrots. They’re bright orange, and luscious looking, with beautiful bushy tops that scream a bright vibrant green. You can’t help yourself from buying them because they’re everything that summer seems to represent. You take them home, and you use the carrots in whatever way most appeals to you, but then you’re left with a massive pile of carrot tops. Now the dilemma begins, because what is one suppose to do with a bunch of carrot tops anyway?

Carrot Top Pesto on some Thin Vegetable Ribbons

Carrot tops are not an item found on many restaurant menus. They’re not an item commonly features in cook books or on the food network. We don’t really live in a world where carrot tops are considered food, they are - more often then not - discarded, which to me seems like a terrible waste. Carrot tops are viable food, they’re full of nutrients just like any other green, and are probably better for you then the actually carrot itself. Still everyday they get thrown away as garbage, so if you’re like me and you hate to see waste, next time you buy some carrots at the Farmer’s Market put those tops to use in this delicious and creamy pesto!  It’s time for us to take carrot tops back and make them a feature on our plates rather then just another item in our compost or rubbish bins. Hopefully over the course of the summer I’ll come up with a few more creative uses for these delicate greens to share with you all, but this pesto is so good I might get side tracked and just make this all summer long instead! Oh, and did I mention what the bonus of making a pesto with carrot tops instead of basil is? You can get 4 Cups of carrot tops - plus the carrots they’re attached to - for half the coast of 2 oz of Basil. Maybe this depends on where you live, but in IL basil is expensive, at roughly $5 for 2oz organic basil, when I can get 2 bunches of carrots with 4 Cups of tops for $4.

My vegetable pasta contained Carrot and Zucchini Ribbon Noodles
Chopped Roma Tomatoes, and some Diced Green Onion
A Delicious combination with the Carrot Top Pesto 

Anyway, enjoy this pesto like you would any other, in a wrap or on a sandwich, in a warm or chilled soup, as a dip, as a sauce, as a dressing, on a pizza. I ended up enjoying it on raw noodles, you could do that too or use it on fresh cooked pasta. It’s up to you, it’s so versatile that the options are endless. As always enjoy!

Creamy Carrot Top Pesto 

Carrot Tops from 2 Bunches Carrots - Roughly 4 C
½ C Slivered Almonds
3 Green Onions
1 ½ tsp Garlic Powder - or 2 Cloves fresh Garlic
½ tsp Sea Salt
½ tsp Smoked Paprika
2-3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
½ C Flaxseed Oil
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1 Tbsp Mellow White Miso
1/4 tsp White Pepper
Slightly less then 1/4 C Water (Optional depending on how thin or thick you want your pesto)
Fresh Black Pepper to taste

- Add the almonds to a food processor and pulse until finely ground.

- Add the carrot tops and garlic and pulse until fine.

- Add in all the other ingredients - except water -  and pulse until you have a smooth paste. At this point check for consistency, if it’s too thick for your liking add in some water to thin. I used less then 1/4 cup but you can add as much as you need to, to get the pesto to your preferred consistency.

- Serve however you see fit and enjoy!

*** Note: I highly recommend using the miso as it adds a depth of flavor. However if you're following a soy-free diet you can leave it out, or you can replace the soy-based miso with an alternative miso like Chickpea Miso which is soy-free.***

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