This vegetarian carrot leaf pesto allows you to reduce waste, one carrot leaf at a time. With less than ten ingredients and 10 minutes of your time, you can blend up a delicious batch of waste reduction pesto!
Recently, I’ve been trying to be more mindful about my food waste and reducing unnecessary waste. Which means I’m also experimenting with zero waste recipes and waste reduction methods. If you haven’t already seen it, then you might want to check out my recent post on ‘Amazing Food Storage & Fridge hacks to reduce waste‘, with lots of helpful tips to reduce single-plastic use and waste reduction.
Now, I’m trying to be more mindful about other food items that I’d thought of as ‘inedible waste’ but, as it turns out, it isn’t always the case. Such as carrot leaves that can be used to make a delicious carrot leaf healthy pesto. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the stalks but, every little helps.
Plus this carrot top pesto is naturally gluten free, grain-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free and, if using a vegan parmesan alternative, can be Vegan.
I honestly love pesto and include it in LOTS of my recipes, so experimenting with new varieties is always fun ( my current favourite is the classic, delicious pistachio and basil pesto). Homemade pesto is not only super delicious but it’s great for being 100% in control of how much oil and cheese etc. goes into the recipe.
Pesto definitely isn’t one of those ‘super healthy’ recipes, and I won’t pretend it is. However, pesto is delicious and nutritious so I tend to ignore the fact that it’s fairly calorie-dense and I would urge others to do so as well. After all, nutrition IS calories and we need them to survive.
I’ve included my favourite recipe for carrot leaf pesto below. However, this recipe can be customised by including some basil or other herbs, to your liking. Luckily, I always have various herbs to-hand so I often tweak recipes to find new favourites.
You can also experiment with the choice of nuts; swapping out the pistachios for walnuts, for example, would yield fantastic results.
How to make Carrot Leaf Pesto?
The absolute best thing about this carrot leaves pesto is that it is no more complicated than any other pesto recipe. In fact, the base ingredients are pretty much identical to my other favourite pesto recipes: pistachios, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon and seasonings. Plus then, of course, the carrot greens (and you can even add in a cheeky handful of fresh basil leaves if you’d like – because basil pesto is definitely a favourite of mine).
For a Vegan pesto version, feel free to remove the parmesan and simply add extra nuts and oil.
And really, there aren’t many recipes simpler than making a delicious pesto. To begin, remove the carrot stalks, rinse them thoroughly and then separate the leaves from the stalks, as the stalks are bitter.
Note* I also prepare my lemon juice at this point too.
To begin blending the pesto first blitz the nuts to a finer consistency in a food processor. Second, add the parmesan, garlic clove, salt & pepper and quickly blitz.
Add in the remainder of the ingredients and blend until you obtain the consistency you like. The general rule is that the longer you blend, the smoother the pesto. If you are finding it a bit too thick for your liking, feel free to add an extra slug of oil.
How to use this carrot leaf pesto:
This pesto can then be kept in the refrigerator and stored for 3-5 days and used in various recipes including with pasta, to top your veggies, spread on a sandwich – basically, any way you would use any other pesto!
You can also freeze individual portions of this pesto in ice cube trays. This can then be stored in the freezer for up to six months (perfect for making in large batches). When you need some, simply pop out the required amount and allow to thaw to room temperature, before using.
Note* Although I do often stir some pesto into my hot pasta dish, I’ve never tried to add a frozen ice-cube directly to the pan, so I’m not sure if this is a good idea. I’ll have to experiment and get back to you on that one.
And my personal suggestion, serve it in a mini roasted pumpkin as part of a delicious autumn/fall food feast with crackers, vegetable crudités and more.
What are some of your favourite waste-reduction recipes? I’d love to know in the comments below because, as a food blogger, every little helps! Hopefully, we can all help each other out in working towards a better planet and reducing some of our waste.
Also, if you give this recipe a go, I’d love to know your thoughts below! And feel free to tag me in your creations @AlphaFoodie.
Carrot Leaf Pesto
- 1.5 cups carrot leaves stems removed
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 cup pinenuts
- 1/2 cup pistachios
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 green chilli de-seeded – optional
- Grind the nuts in a hand-held blender or food processor.
- Add the parmesan, garlic, salt and pepper and quickly blitz.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until you obtain a consistency you like.
- The longer you blend, the smoother the pesto would be. If you like it very runny, you can add more olive oil.
Check my blog post for ideas how to use and store the pesto.