Springtime Carrot Top Pesto

carrot top pestoSundays are my favorite day of the week. One big reason is that I get to go to The Hollywood Farmer’s Market and get inspired by all the beautiful produce that’s in season. I think it’s the best market in LA and it’s open all year. We’re spoiled here in southern California.

This past weekend, I bought some amazing heirloom carrots and fell in love with the fronds. So often, carrot tops are discolored and a bit worn looking but these were just fluffs of beauty I couldn’t resist.

It took me all of about a second to decide that I was going to make these beauties into a pesto after I realized I had some pine nuts in the freezer. I had also gotten a bunch of different herbs at the market so I was all set.

Carrot fronds are completely edible and taste well, like a carrot but slightly bitter. To mellow out the bitterness, I decided to combine them with fresh mint, parsley and cilantro (my favorite herbs!) and a good amount of lemon juice & zest. I also added a tablespoon of ume vinegar (comes from the Japenese umeboshi plum and is super salty) to give the pesto some extra depth of flavor. And of course, lots of garlic.

I roasted the whole carrots that were left and poured the pesto on top once they were done cooking. It was simple and delicious. The following night, I used the leftovers on some spiralized zucchini noodles (aka zoodles, a great low-carb option to pasta) after I’ve sauteed them up with some baby tomatoes and white beans for protein. The pesto would also be great slathered on a veggie burger, as a crudite for veggies, or over some regular pasta too.

One other thing to note about the tops is that they are also chock full of nutrition: high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. So next time you pick up some carrots – don’t throw away the tops! Make them your new springtime cooking companion.

What are you going to do with your pesto? I want to know! Post your pictures on Instagram and tag me @food_by_bri. Can’t wait to see what you do!


Springtime Carrot Top Pesto
Recipe Type: Sauces & Dressings
Cuisine: Dairy-Free / Vegan
Author: Briana Ryan
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 cup
  • 1 cup carrot fronds, removed from thick stems
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (or swap with basil)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon of ume vinegar (or 1/4 to 1/2 tsp sea salt)
  • juice & zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Toast your pine nuts on a low flame on the stove top being careful not to burn them. Should only take about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Coarsely chop your herbs and garlic, zest and juice your lemon, and toss everything into your blender. Add in the pine nuts and ume vinegar and begin blending on low speed slowly turning it up while you pour in the olive oil. Blend for about a minute and you’re done.


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