Photo: Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post
Don’t toss those carrot tops! They are as tasty and nutritious as other greens and can be used in the same way — to garnish dishes, sprinkle in salads or for sautes and sauces. Here, they are the base of a lovely, lemony pesto which also includes basil leaves for a layer of sweet, floral essence to balance the earthy flavor of the carrot greens. Use it like you would any pesto: toss with pasta, spread on sandwiches or toasts, or drizzle over cooked potatoes, eggs, chicken breast, and so on. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 small cloves garlic, peeled
4 cups lightly packed, well washed and dried carrot top greens (from one 1-pound bunch of carrots)
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, plus more as needed (see NOTE)
1/3 cup (1 ounce) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, shaking the pan frequently, until fragrant and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.
In a food processor, process the pine nuts with garlic until minced. Add the carrot tops, basil, cheese, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper and process until finely minced. With the machine running, slowly pour the oil in a steady stream through the feed tube and process until well blended.
NOTE: If your bunch of carrots yields less than 4 cups of greens, add as much basil as you need to get a total of 5 cups of greens.
Makes 8 servings
Serving size: 2 1/2 tablespoons
Per serving: Calories: 197; Total Fat: 19 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 3 mg; Sodium: 219 mg; Carbohydrates: 3 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugar: 1 g; Protein: 3 g