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Easy Vegan Carrot Top Pesto Recipe

Easy Vegan Carrot Top Pesto

This simple pesto recipe features an ingredient typically discarded by most home cooks. To be on the safe side, use the greens from organic carrots in this recipe. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Dish Type sauce
Cooking Style vegan
Diet and Health gluten-free, Healthy
Seasonal Easter, Fourth of July, Mother's Day, spring, summer
Ingredient Garlic, Linguini
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 4 with pasta
Created by Amy Reiley


  • 1/4 cup unsalted walnuts
  • 1 tbsp + 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sweet onion roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch carrot tops thoroughly washed and roughly chopped*
  • smoked salt to taste
  • black pepper optional
  • 1 lb whole wheat linguine


  1. Toast walnuts in pan or oven until golden. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onions in the pan until soft. Add garlic and saute an additional minute before stirring in the carrot tops and a pinch of smoked salt. Cook until carrot tops wilt, about 1 minute.
  3. Transfer carrot top mixture to a blender, adding toasted walnuts and 1 tbsp water. Blend, adding olive oil in a slow stream until mixture becomes a coarse paste (the texture of pesto). You may not need all the olive oil or you may need additional.
  4. Season with additional smoked salt to taste. If you like a little heat, try adding in a touch of freshly ground black pepper. Set aside while you prepare the pasta.
  5. Make pasta according to package instructions, cooking to al dente.
  6. Drain pasta and toss with the pesto. Serve immediately. Alternatively, serve the pesto at room temperature as a dipping sauce or refrigerate and use as a salad dressing.


Carrots are generally sold with their tops still attached at farmers’ markets and produce stands. Although many grocery stores remove the tops and seal the carrots in plastic bags before sale, Whole Foods and other natural foods grocers often sell the root vegetables in their natural glory.