Make Pesto with It!

Bright green carrot top pesto! Preserve the color with a little olive oil on top before you pop it in the freezer or the fridge.

When I return from a farmers market run or from my own garden, there are so many options for making pesto, from the vegetable parts that might otherwise end up in the compost to the excess of herbs that grow like weeds at the end of the season. I have never encountered a sauce that freezes so easily and tastes so fresh in the middle of winter. With the help of a food processor, preparing pesto is nearly effortless in comparison to the reward in flavor and nutrition I can preserve for later enjoyment.

All pesto basically has seven ingredients that many of us already have in our kitchens:

  1. 1 - 4 garlic cloves
  2. 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  3. 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
  5. 2 c. greens
  6. 1/3 c. nuts or seeds
  7. 1/3 c. cheese

These last three ingredients can be highly variable depending upon what you have on hand.

  • Greens Variations: Basil, Parsley, Cilantro, Carrot Tops, Spinach, Chard, Kale, Collards, Beet Tops, Roasted Beets
  • Nut/Seed Variations: Pine Nuts, Walnuts, Pecans, Pistachios, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds
  • Cheese Variations: Parmesan, Feta, Romano, Mozzarella

Carrot tops make amazing pesto and are full of nutrients: Vitamin A (110%), potassium (250 mg), vitamin C (10%), and calcium (2%).

 The carrot top pesto featured in these photos from Fall of 2021 didn't really last all that long as we mixed it into pasta, spread it over sourdough toast, and baked it over salmon. This fall, I am hoping to make a dill pesto for winter fish dishes. Which variations of pesto have you tried?


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