We delved into these questions with our food + garden summer campers last year, after buying a few bundles of carrots from the Union Square Farmers Market to prep for another recipe. As we were having fun chopping up our carrots, we saw some of our campers heading over with the tops to the compost bins. We caught them right before they were given to the worms, and asked our campers if they thought the tops were edible. Some said yes, others said no. So we decided to do an experiment. We rinsed some carrot tops and passed them around. With open minds we all tried it, and much to their surprise they liked it and compared its taste to parsley. We then went on to blend up a carrot top pesto, which they creatively entitled “Peaceful Bunny Food Pesto.”
Here is what we came up with:
- 1 bundle of carrot tops
- a handful of pumpkin seeds
- 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- Salt and pepper
Cut off the carrot tops from the tips of the carrots. Rinse the tops under cool water to remove any sand or dirt. Over low heat, toast the pumpkin seeds until lightly browned and fragrant, let cool. Remove the skins of the garlic cloves. Place carrot tops, seeds, garlic, oil, salt and pepper into your blender or food processor and pulse until you reach a pesto-like consistency. Taste along the way and adjust seasoning and the amount of seeds as you go.
This unusual, yet versatile pesto makes a great addition to pasta dishes, rice, quinoa, sandwiches or salads. Now you can rest easy knowing that the entirety of your carrots have been put to good use!