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Try something different for your pesto this time, and make use of those lovely carrot tops you’ve been wondering what to do with. They are super nutritious, very tasty and pair perfectly with toasted almonds.

I’ve recently started shopping for veg at a little farm near where I live. It’s a very cute place, with cows, sheep and goats, and lots of delicious vegetables grown organically. That means you get what’s in season, and what is native to the area. No fancy imported mangoes (which are rarely any good anyway), no avocados (not quite warm enough in this part of the country, although Crete has its own avos now), no weird and wonderful fruit and veg like those you see on supermarket shelves. But, whatever is grown there, is way way way superior to anything on the aforementioned shelves. For example courgettes (zucchini). You cannot compare the taste of the small and wonky looking courgettes from the farm, to the taste of the big pasty looking things you get elsewhere. And don’t even get me started on the tomatoes. The only problem is that some things, like strawberries, are around for about two minutes and then you blink and they’re gone. Either because you arrived late and whatever was picked that morning has disappeared, or because the season lasts for about a week since it’s either too cold or too hot here for strawberries. Actually this might happen only with the strawberries. I didn’t get to enjoy enough strawberries this year. I’m annoyed with that.

Anyway, let’s move on from the strawberries. Back to the carrot tops. The carrots I get from the farm include their greens. This isn’t very common in Greece; usually you get just the carrot roots. The exact opposite of beets, which are usually sold whole here (with their greens) and you rarely find the roots by themselves. I really really hate throwing things like that away. So when I found myself with a bunch of carrot tops, I thought I’d try making pesto with them. I didn’t have any cheese, so I just used almonds, olive oil and lemon. It turned out delicious! As with all types of pesto you need a food processor (unless you fancy a pestle and mortar workout) and some patience till it all gets nice and smoothly blended.

I enjoyed this with spaghetti, and you can also freeze leftovers in an ice cube tray so you have individual portions for later. For me one portion is about two pesto cubes. I also like to throw a cube into sauces, soups or stews, as it gives lots of flavour. These quantities yield just over a 400ml jar of pesto.


100gr almonds, blanched, whole

130gr carrot top greens, roughly chopped

150ml (10 Tbs) olive oil

45ml (3 Tbs) lemon juice

1 tsp garlic paste

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp lemon pepper

Step 1

Put the almonds in a non stick frying pan and place on high heat. Stir occasionally. When you see the first black spots, turn the heat off but leave the pan on the stove to further toast the almonds. Don’t walk away as they burn easily. Transfer to chopping board and roughly chop.

Step 2

Put some carrot top greens in the food processor with some almonds and oil, and process till smooth. Repeat with more ingredients, adding the rest as you go. You can taste along the way to see if you want to add anything or cut down on anything (e.g. lemon) depending on taste and texture. Store the pesto in a jar for a few days or freeze. To serve with pasta keep some of the water you boiled it in to thin out the pesto; it coats the pasta better that way.

Note: Some people find carrot top greens a tad bitter. I don’t, but if you do you can add some honey while making it.

1 ratings, avg : 5.00
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What others are doing with their carrot tops
Velvety carrot soup with carrot-top pesto by My Little Expat Kitchen
Roasted Carrot and Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro and Carrot Green Chimichurri by Rosemarried
Grilled Cheese with Roasted Carrots + Carrot Green Pesto by Happyolks
Salad of Edible Radish, Beet & Carrot Top Greens by White on Rice Couple

So, what do you think? Leave me a comment!

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