Best Carrot Top Pesto
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Have you ever bought a bunch of carrots with their bushy feathery leaves and wondered what to do with them? This carrot top pesto recipe is a great alternative to the orginal. Simply discard the thick stems, keeping the leaves and combined with walnuts, garlic, basil, parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil. It's delicious mixed through pasta, spread in a sandwhich or wrap or try drizzling over roasted carrots, boiled baby potatoes, or a variety of roasted vegetables.
Can I adapt this recipe for other diets?
To make this recipe dairy free and vegan, simply substitute the parmesan cheese for a plant based alternative or try adding a teaspoon of miso paste or a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, to tatse. This will give that umami flavour that a hard cheese would bring.
Can I make this recipe nut-free?
If you are allergic or sensitive to tree nuts, try substituting the walnuts for sunflower or pumkin seeds, or a mixture of both!
1 bunch of leafy carrot tops, thick stems discarded
20g / 1 cup fresh basil leaves
50g walnuts, (sunflower or pumpkin seeds for nut-free)
25g parmesan cheese, grated (sub plant-based equivalent, 1 tsp miso paste or nutritional yeast)
1 garlic, minced
80-100ml extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Wash the carrot top leaves and strain in a colander.
Remove the feathery leaves from the thick stalks and discard the stalks. Grate the parmesan cheese and set aside.
Roughly chop the leaves and place into a blender or food processor. Add the olive oil, garlic, walnuts, grated parmesan cheese, basil leaves and season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
Blitz on high power until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl. Keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Keep the bowl covered with plastic wrap or place in an air tight container to prevent browning.
SERVE THIS WITH.
Serve as a side or with other mezzes:
Carrot top leaves - are infact edible and are highly nutritious. They are rich in protein, minerals and vitamins. They contain 6 x more vitamin C than the carrot root itself and are a great source of potassium and calcium which is what makes them slightly bitter.
Sweet basil leaves - have a licorice-clove flavour and is the most widely grown, popular basil, famed for its use in Italian dishes. It is a source of vitamin K as well as other beneficial plant compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, (Source)
Walnuts - are a rich source of monounsaturated fats, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and a good source of Manganese, Copper, Molybdenum and the B vitamin Biotin. (Source)
Garlic - contains antioxidants that protect against cell damage and ageing, helps improve blood pressure, cholesterol and bone health. (Source)
Extra virgin olive oil - specifically Greek olive oil, it has the lowest acidity (approximately 0.5%) and is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Benefits may include anti-inflammatory properties, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and improves bone calcification. (Source)
HAVE YOU MADE THIS?
Many of my recipes call for Greek products like Greek extra virgin olive oil, Greek honey or Greek oregano. It is not mandatory for it to be Greek in order to make the recipe, you are more than welcome to use a good quality alternative; just keep in mind if you are after the authentic flavours of Greece these details do make all the difference in Greek cuisine. You can shop these ingredients here.
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Disclaimer: None of the health benefits listed are intended to diagnose or treat any pre-existing health conditions. Always consult a health care practitioner before making any health decisions. The benefits listed are from my own research and personal interest, and encourage you to follow the Source and do further research.