A delicious and economical alternative to traditional pesto!
Did you know carrot tops contain 6 times more the vitamin C than the root part of the carrot and are a great source of potassium, calcium, vitamin A, dietary fibre and iron? I like to buy organic carrots so that I can use the tops as well as the crunchy orange roots. In addition to making scrumptious pesto, they’re great sauteed with a little oil, salt and pepper, or tossed into stir fries. I find the flavour of carrot tops to be a little bit peppery, reminiscent of arugula and they also taste faintly of the orange part of the carrot as well. I like to use this pesto to top grilled salmon or chicken and it’s a favourite when preparing appetizers such as pesto and goat cheese-topped crostini.
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) good quality olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup (90 mL) raw, unsalted cashews
- 2 cups (500 mL) coarsely chopped carrot tops (coarse stems removed)
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) grated parmesan
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) freshly ground pepper
- Put 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the olive oil and the minced garlic in a small heatproof bowl. Microwave on high power for 45 seconds, to par-cook the garlic. (Alternatively, you bring the mixture to a boil in a small pot on the stove).
- Put cashews plus garlic and olive oil mixture in a food processor equipped with a steel blade. Pulse until cashews are chopped small (but not turned into a paste).
- Add carrot tops and remaining 6 tablespoons (90 mL) olive oil and pulse until carrot tops are pureed. Add parmesan, salt and pepper and pulse just until incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings to suit your preference.
- Transfer pesto to a glass jar or a food storage bag and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
Makes approximately 2 cups (500 mL) of pesto.