Carrot Top and Pistachio Pesto is a delightful dish that embodies a sustainable and mindful approach to cooking. This recipe not only tantalises the taste buds but also showcases the beauty of using local ingredients and minimising food waste by utilising every part of the ingredients.
I love this recipe because it is a wonderful reminder that by choosing locally sourced carrots, we support local farmers and reduce the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation. But it doesn’t end there—this recipe takes it a step further by incorporating the often-overlooked carrot tops, transforming them into a flavourful pesto. By utilising these vibrant greens, we maximise the potential of the entire carrot plant, minimising waste and honouring the principles of sustainability.
By using locally sourced ingredients and embracing the concept of minimising waste, this dish not only nourishes the body but also nourishes the soul, reminding us of the beauty and potential that lies within each ingredient we use.
Whenever I step foot in a farm, it feels as if I’m being embraced by the true essence of nature. The crunch of the earth beneath my feet, the fragrance of the fresh greens, the sound of birds chirping in the distance, everything brings me closer to the roots of our food.
On one visit to Emirates Bio Farm, in particular, left a profound impact on me. On this day, I returned home cradling a bundle of freshly harvested carrots, tops and all, like treasure. It was a simple yet incredibly moving moment. This day taught me the beauty of conscious cooking and using the whole ingredient, an appreciation for the entire lifecycle of our food, from farm to table.
Seeing those lush carrot tops, I was inspired to create something that wouldn’t just satisfy our taste buds but also respect the integrity of these beautiful vegetables. And thus, the recipe for Carrot Top & Pistachio Pesto was born.
Packed with the beautiful green leaves of the carrots, the nutty goodness of pistachios, the zesty flavour of lemon, and the richness of Gran Padano cheese, this pesto recipe is a symphony of flavours that is both simple to make and incredibly versatile.
This pesto can be served in a myriad of ways. It’s fantastic tossed with freshly cooked pasta, spread on a slice of crusty bread, or dolloped on a pizza fresh from the oven. It even makes a flavorful dressing for salads or a marinade for grilled chicken or fish. It’s also a wonderful dip for vegetable crudites, adding a burst of freshness and depth of flavour.
Every time I prepare this Carrot Top & Pistachio Pesto, I’m reminded of that magical day at the farm. It makes me feel connected to the earth, the food we eat, and the cycle of life. And I hope it brings you as much joy as it brings me.
Basic Ingredients for Carrot Top and Pistachio Pesto
Carrot Tops: These leafy greens are full of nutrients and have a slightly bitter, herby flavour that pairs well with the other ingredients in pesto. They’re an often discarded part of the vegetable that is actually perfectly edible and delicious.
Garlic Cloves: The sharpness of the garlic balances the herby flavours and adds a depth of flavour.
Pistachios: Pistachios give our pesto a lovely texture and a slightly sweet, nutty flavour. They’re also a great source of healthy fats and antioxidants.
Gran Padano Cheese: A popular Italian cheese, Gran Padano brings a rich, savoury, slightly sweet taste to the pesto.
Lemon Juice and Zest: The acidity from the lemon juice helps to brighten up the flavours, while the zest adds a punch of citrusy freshness.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This acts as the liquid base for our pesto, helping to blend all the ingredients together and adding a silky richness.
Salt, Black Pepper, and Chili Flakes: These seasoning agents enhance the flavours of the other ingredients, with the chilli flakes adding a touch of heat.
If you’re unable to find some of these ingredients or if you’re catering to specific dietary needs, here are a few substitutions:
Almonds or Walnuts instead of Pistachios: These nuts also pair well with the flavours of the pesto.
Vegan Cheese or Nutritional Yeast instead of Gran Padano: For a dairy-free version.
Parsley or Basil instead of Carrot Tops: If carrot tops aren’t available, these herbs can be used.
- Ensure the carrot tops are thoroughly washed and dried to remove any dirt or grit.
- The garlic cloves should be peeled and crushed before being added to the food processor to ensure they blend evenly.
- Store any leftover pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- For longer storage, pesto can be frozen. Pour the pesto into an ice cube tray, freeze until solid, then transfer the pesto cubes to a freezer bag. These cubes can be defrosted as needed.
Carrot Top and Pistachio Pesto
- 115 g carrot leaves
- 3 large garlic cloves
- ½ cup pistachio
- ⅔ cup gran padano cheese, grated
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- ½ tsp chili flakes
- 1 lemon juice
- 1 lemon zest
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
- In a foodprocessor, add carrot top leaves, garlic, pistachio, Gran Padano cheese, salt,black pepper, chilli flakes, lemon juice and lemon zest; blend ingredientstogether until they are finely minced. On slow speed, gradually add the extra virgin olive oil and processuntil it reaches a smooth consistency.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve with your favourite sandwich, pasta or simple toss with roastedcarrots (sharelink to the recipe with whipped feta)