The Washington Post

Carrot Top Pesto

Carrot Top Pesto 6.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Gina Nistico for The Washington Post

Nourish May 26, 2022

Don’t toss those carrot tops! They are as tasty and nutritious as other greens and can be used in the same way — to garnish dishes, sprinkle in salads or for sautes and sauces. Here, they are the base of a lovely, lemony pesto which also includes basil leaves for a layer of sweet, floral essence to balance the earthy flavor of the carrot greens. Use it like you would any pesto: toss with pasta, spread on sandwiches or toasts, or drizzle over cooked potatoes, eggs, chicken breast, and so on.

Total time: 10 mins

Storage Notes: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings; about 1 1/4 cups

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 small cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 cups lightly packed, well washed and dried carrot top greens (from 1 1-pound bunch of carrots)
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, plus more as needed (see NOTE)
  • 1/3 cup (1 ounce) freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, shaking the pan frequently, until fragrant and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.

In a food processor, process the pine nuts with garlic until minced. Add the carrot tops, basil, cheese, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper and process until finely minced. With the machine running, slowly pour the oil in a steady stream through the feed tube and process until well blended.

NOTE: If your bunch of carrots yields less than 4 cups of greens, add as much basil as you need to get a total of 5 cups of greens.

Recipe Source

From cookbook author and registered nutritionist Ellie Krieger.

Tested by Olga Massov.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (2 to 3 tablespoons), based on 8: 197

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 19g 29%

Saturated Fat: 3g 15%

Cholesterol: 3mg 1%

Sodium: 219mg 9%

Total Carbohydrates: 3g 1%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 1g

Protein: 3g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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