Make Ahead

Carrot Top Pesto

July 27, 2011
1 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6 as an appetizer
Author Notes

The carrots at the farmers market are beautiful with their bright green tops. Those often discarded tops happen to be quite nutritious, but not lauded by many as extremely tasty. I've been messing around with them lately. I made a great sauce the other day where I blanched them and then pureed them with a little yogurt. But at the dinner we did last week at Tartine I made a pesto with the carrot tops to garnish a slice of hard boiled egg - a simple and elegant appetizer if you ask me. Here's the recipe - pretty similar to most pesto recipes, except less green and more of everything else. —The Perennial Plate

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds, sliced
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch carrot tops, leaves only, discard the stems
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup olive oil or enough to blend it all together into a thick pesto
  • salt to taste
  • 6 eggs
  1. For the pesto: Put the ingredients in a food processor and blend thoroughly. Blend it more than you would other pestos, you don't want any big carrot leaves as they will get stuck in your throat. When everything is well broken up, add a little more olive oil to loosen it up so you can drape the pesto over your egg.
  2. For the eggs: Cover the eggs with cold water in a sauce pot. Bring to a boil then shut off the heat, cover the pot and wait for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, submerge the eggs in ice water. Wait another 10 minutes then peel the eggs and cut into quarters. Place quartered eggs on a serving dish and drape with the pesto.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Vicky Maldonado
    Vicky Maldonado
  • Hilarybee
  • lloreen
  • Sagegreen
  • sexyLAMBCHOPx
Chef & activist Daniel Klein and cameragirl Mirra Fine are road-tripping around the United States, filming and editing The Perennial Plate -- an online weekly documentary series dedicated to socially responsible and adventurous eating -- as they go. See below for Perennial Plate's recipes, shared weekly with food52 from the road!

9 Reviews

Vicky M. February 18, 2018
I thought this was pretty gross and carrot tops I used (fresh from my garden) were sweet so the addition of honey was not necessary. Maybe 50/50 basil and carrot tops...either way I won't be cooking with carrot tops again.
Joannette September 15, 2011
I'm a Brit living in France and made this Pesto yesterday. Served it with wholewheat pasta. The verdict from both husband and myself: DELICIOUS!
Hilarybee August 2, 2011
From what I understand, carrot tops contain toxic alkaloid and when consumed in large quantity can make you very sick. Some people cannot tolerate carrot tops even in small quantity, and reactions can include itchy toungue/throat, intestinal pain and even death.

Two years ago, I disregarded the "carrots are toxic" advise and made a salad with carrot top dressing I had seen at Cafe Boulud. I was fine, but my husband became very ill, necessitating a trip to the emergency room.

I don't want to be the doomsday person out there, and chances are you will probably be fine. But that was my experience.
lloreen July 29, 2011
I love carrot tops with herbs and a simple vinaigrette but someone told me they are toxic? I am not dead yet, so perhaps this is a myth? Does anyone know?
Beth D. July 29, 2011
Thanks for the idea! I by whole organic carrots with teh tops ALL the time and ALL the time I throw them away not knowing how to use them. Now I can make pesto every week! I just made a vegan pesto like dip for my raw veggies for lunch using pumpkin seeds and lime instead of almonds. Its great and the carrot top flavor is not too intense. Thanks again for the idea!
X July 28, 2011
Moira Hodgson published a recipe for Pureed Carrot Top Condiment in Good Food From a Small Kitchen (1985). Her recipe follows... Puree the tops from a bunch of fresh young carrots in a food processor with a bit of water. Saute the puree in a tablespoon of sesame oil for about 5 minutes, then season with 2 tablespoons of Tamari sauce. I've prepared this many times and served it as a condiment for brown rice. She got the recipe from composer John Cage. I will try the pesto recipe, as we have lots of carrots in the garden now!
bottomupfood July 28, 2011
I remember Googling wildly last summer to find out if carrot tops were edible and getting no clear yeses. Thanks for answering my question AND coming up with a great way to eat them.
Sagegreen July 27, 2011
I second that yum!
sexyLAMBCHOPx July 27, 2011