We’ve been really into vegan pesto the last few weeks, especially this recipe made with carrot tops! Carrot tops are a great addition to pesto as their flavor is not overwhelming in any way. And yes, they’re completely safe to eat – you’ll just have to wash them well before using!
Cooking to Reduce Food Waste
Until about a year ago, we had never even considered consuming carrot greens. Now that we’re more conscious about food waste and eating plants from root to stem, it doesn’t seem so strange! This summer, we’re starting to compost so the food that we do get rid of will go to good use. We’re also making an effort to think ahead as to how we can make the most of our produce.
One fantastic way to get more out of your produce is to pickle/preserve. There are so many surprising and unique ways to preserve foods we’ve never even thought of, like ramps (which go in and out of season very quickly), rhubarb, watermelon rind (yes, rind!), lemons and even herbs, which you can preserve by freezing into olive oil cubes!
The key to a great vegan pesto (in my opinion) is adding a significant amount of nutritional yeast, which gives it that delicious, savory, cheesy flavor you typically get from parmesan. Instead of pine nuts, we decided to switch it up with pistachios (which also makes it extra green). This recipe still also includes basil, because ya can’t have pesto without basil, and we have not tried it with just carrot tops, so we can’t say for certain if that would taste good.
Our favorite use for pesto: tossing it with fresh pasta, of course! We also love spreading it on toast, using it as a base for pizza, or drizzling it over roasted vegetables. (I’d be lying if I didn’t also say I occasionally eat a spoonful by itself – is that weird?!)Print
This vegan pesto makes use of an ingredient that’s often tossed in the trash.
- 1 cup basil
- 2 cups carrot top greens (washed well and stems removed)
- 1/2 cup pistachios
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 of a medium lemon
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup olive oil (more to thin out if desired)
- Add all ingredients except olive oil to a blender or food processor and blend.
- Slowly stream in olive oil and continue to blend until pesto reaches desired consistency.
- Store in airtight container in refrigerator for 3-5 days.
Pistachios can be substituted for pine nuts for a more traditional recipe.