Carrot top and cashew pesto

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.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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