Homemade Pesto

carrot-top pesto

Homemade pesto has become a central part of my weekly meal planning. It's a huge flavor booster for all kinds of stuff  eggs and zucchini noodles to grilled salmon and salad dressing. I always have a jar of it in my fridge and the best part is that you can make it with whatever nuts, seeds, greens or herbs you have around in any season of the year.

A couple of months ago I was fed some pesto that was made using carrot tops as the leafy green and decided to give it a try.  I usually send my carrot tops into the compost bin but yesterday when I pulled a bunch of carrots out of my garden I decided that it was time to give it a try. 

carrots

 

I removed the fronds from the stems, put them into my food processor with some basil and toasted seeds and the results were pretty divine. We had it tossed with zucchini noodles and sprinkled with nutritional yeast and the leftovers will go on grilled salmon tonight. I will never throw out those carrot tops again!

zoodles with carrot-top pesto

 

And PS - carrot tops are considered a leafy green vegetable which is always a good choice!

 

Ingredients

1- 1 1/2 cup(s) of carrot tops (typically the amount from one bunch of carrots), OR arugula, kale, chard or whatever else you may have.

1-1 1/2 cup(s) of fresh basil leaves OR parsley, cilantro or other leafy green herb.

2-4 garlic cloves (I used roasted garlic (I buy it in the deli section of my favorite grocery store)  because it's mellower but it's up to you).

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)

pinch of sea salt

3 tablespoons of either pine nuts, pepitas, almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds. (It's even yummier if you dry-toast them in a skillet for a few minutes first.  Put the nuts or seeds in a dry, heavy skillet over medium heat and stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown and smell toasted).

2 tsp of  nutritional yeast (optional)

6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (you can add more if the pesto seems too thick).

 

Instructions:

Rinse the carrot tops well, dry them and then remove and discard the thicker middle stem. Put the tops into the food processor with all the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the olive oil and process until finely chopped. You may need to stop and scrape the sides down once or twice to get everything well minced. Then, while the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil and keep processing until it is smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor bowl as needed. Taste it and add more salt or lemon juice if you like.

Voila - you are done. Enjoy!