The BEST Carrot Top Pesto

Lemons, olive oil, carrots with tops, and a bowl of carrot top pesto

Wondering what to do with carrot tops? Make pesto! If you’ve made it before and thought “Hmm, that’s resourceful, but I wouldn’t make it again,” we urge you to give this version a try! Thanks to a little help from fresh basil, it’s just mildly earthy and worthy of saving in your recipe box! 

It adds an herby brightness to pasta, quinoa, roasted carrots, potatoes, chicken, and much more. Bonus? It’s dairy-free and comes together in just 5 minutes in a food processor or blender. Let’s make pesto!

Carrots, lemon, garlic, water, salt, olive oil, pine nuts, and basil

Adapted from our Easy Vegan Pesto, this carrot top version brings just enough basil on board to balance the earthiness of the carrot tops. Pine nuts add richness, lemon juice brightness, garlic a little kick, and sea salt rounds it all out.

Food processor with basil, carrot tops, salt, and pine nuts

It all swirls around in a food processor or blender with olive oil for sauciness and water to keep it from being heavy while encouraging blending. The result is creamy, dippable pesto that adds instant flavor to your meals!

Carrot top pesto in a food processor

We can’t wait for you to try this carrot top pesto! It’s:

& SO delicious!

Next time you have carrot tops around, make carrot top pesto and you’ll be doing your part to change the world with your waste-free ways 🙌! Bonus? It tastes good and pairs well with everything from pasta to quinoa, roasted carrots, potatoes, chicken, and more!

More Herby Dips & Sauces

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Bowl of pasta tossed with carrot top pesto

Prep Time 5 minutes

Total Time 5 minutes

Servings 6 (~2 Tbsp servings)

Course Dip

Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan

Freezer Friendly No

Does it keep? 4-5 Days

  • 1 cup loosely packed carrot tops, tough stems removed (~1 small or 1/2 medium bunch yields ~1 cup or 20 g)
  • 1 ½ cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, large stems removed
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (or sub walnuts, pistachios, or cashews)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus more as needed)
  • 1-2 Tbsp water (plus more as needed)

FOR SERVING optional

  • Remove the carrot greens from a bunch of carrots, rinse them, and choose the freshest looking greens. Discard the rest (or save for bunnies — they love them!).

  • Add all your pesto ingredients except the water to a food processor (or small blender) and process until it’s broken down into a chunky mixture. Add water 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time until creamy and dippable, keeping in mind water will dilute the flavor, so avoid adding too much (we used 2 tablespoons total).
  • Taste and adjust as needed, adding more olive oil for richness, lemon juice for brightness, basil if too thin, or water to reach desired consistency.

  • Enjoy with roasted carrots, potatoes, pasta, and more! Leftover pesto will keep stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, but will lose some of its bright green color.

*Recipe as written makes ~3/4 cup pesto.
*Loosely adapted from our Easy Vegan Pesto.

Serving: 1 (two tablespoon) serving Calories: 106 Carbohydrates: 3.5 g Protein: 1.3 g Fat: 9.1 g Saturated Fat: 1.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 211 mg Potassium: 120 mg Fiber: 1.3 g Sugar: 0.8 g Vitamin A: 983 IU Vitamin C: 4.8 mg Calcium: 20 mg Iron: 0.6 mg