Friday, August 15, 2014

Roasted Carrots & Carrot Top Pesto

Lately I've been picking up bunches of organic carrots at Sprouts that still have their leafy tops attached to them.  After a quick search to check that carrot greens are indeed edible (though somewhat bitter if eaten alone), I decided to make a pesto out of them.  I've been using this pesto on pasta, scrambled eggs, veggies, pork - so many things can go with pesto!  Be sure to wash your carrot greens well since they tend to be quite sandy.

carrot greens carrot tops make pesto
Keep your carrot greens and make pesto!

With the hot summer days, roasting (my favorite way to prepare veggies) is done sparingly since the oven tends to heat up our kitchen too much.  Thankfully, one bunch of carrots fits easily in our toaster oven.  I unintentionally discovered a while back that if I leave the carrots in the oven long enough, their skins start drying up and shriveling, giving them the look of french fries.  They also develop a nice crispy edge.  The sweetness from the carrots actually makes them taste just like oven-baked sweet potato fries, which I love!  Maybe carrot fries will be the next healthy french fry replacement. :)
roasted carrots carrot green pesto
Roasted carrots with carrot top pesto
I served my roasted carrots with the carrot top pesto and it was a delicious (and perhaps poetic?) way to eat these leafy root vegetables.

Carrot Top Pesto
Makes about 1.5 cups

1 bunch of carrot tops, thoroughly washed and chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup roasted nuts (pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, or even mixed nuts)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Place carrot greens and garlic in a food processor or blender and pulse several times.   Add roasted nuts and Parmesan cheese and continue to pulse until a paste forms.  Scrape down the sides of the food processor or blender if necessary.
  2. Add the olive oil into the food processor or blender 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse.  Adding the oil slowly helps it to emulsify in the pesto and keeps the oil from separating out.  Scrape down the sides of the container as necessary.  
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.  Refrigerated pesto will be a bit thick since olive oil solidifies in the fridge so make sure to let the pesto rest at room temperature before using.    

Roasted Carrots
Serves 2

1 bunch of carrots, peeled or scrubbed clean
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp herbs or spices of choice, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Slice carrots longitudinally into carrot sticks about 4 inches long.
  3. Spread carrot sticks in a single layer onto the baking sheet.  Toss with oil, salt, and pepper.  Toss with herbs or spices if you so desire - I've successfully used smoked paprika and Italian seasoning before.
  4. Roast in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, using tongs to toss carrots halfway through.  Remove carrots sooner if you like them to be more crisp or roast longer if you like slightly charred edges and a french fry texture.  
  5. Serve on their own, or topped with carrot top pesto or feta cheese.

1 comment:

  1. I like it!! This is happening the next time I get organic carrots! :)