One missed opportunity in gardening in regards to sustainable harvesting is not using all edible components of your produce. This is my first year growing a vegetable garden, and I’ve spent many evenings googling when to harvest vegetable x, or can I eat this bit of vegetable y? Some technically edible bits of my vegetables aren’t for me. The slightly too prickly leaves of my radishes, and the really tough outer leaves of my cabbage fed the compost. However, one thing I was very excited to make is carrot top pesto!
My carrot crop
My first crop of carrots was decimated by snails, so I may have over-compensated by multi sewing a second crop in a felt grow bag. Multi sewing means you sew several seeds in the same spot and allow them to mature into small clumps, rather than a row of seeds. Now that my carrots are maturing, I thin them out and eat the tiny carrots and the tops. The remaining carrots are left to mature into autumn!
For more on my garden see: A Tour of My Vegetable Garden
What to do with carrot tops
I’ve always liked the taste of carrot tops, and they add a fresh component to salad, or Vietnamese wraps. But did you know that you can make excellent pesto using carrot tops? Most recipes I came across used pine nuts, which are hella expensive. Traditional pesto also has raw garlic, which is a no-go for my digestion. So, I developed my own version of Carrot Top Pesto, which is a mild, fresh sauce that is a little bit minty, a little bit lemony, and super tasty!
This recipe is plant-based (vegan), and also suitable for people with sensitive stomachs. The quantity makes enough for a generous potion of pesto for 2-3 people as a pasta sauce. You can also put it on salad, toast, or mixed into couscous etc.
Carrot Top Pesto
- Nutri Bullet, Blender, or Food Processor
- 1 Bunch Carrot Tops (washed, mainly the leafy parts)
- ¼ Cup Unsalted Cashew Nuts
- 1 Handful Fresh Mint Leaves
- Juice of Half a Lemon
- ⅓ Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Tsp. Sugar
- Salt and Pepper
- Add all of the ingredients to your Nutri Bullet or food processor, and blend until the carrot tops are in small pieces. The mixture should be slightly chunky.
- No need to cook - just mix into your cooked pasta, or spread onto toast for a tasty snack!
If you try this carrot top pesto, let me know what you think. Happy harvesting!