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Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto

This dish is simple to create, gorgeous to serve, and so full of flavor. This is the perfect recipe to create next time you bring home a big bushel of carrots from the farmer's market!

One of my favorite things to pick up each week at the farmer’s market is a huge bushel of carrots. The carrots, with their curled ends, unique shapes and dramatic fluffy tops, look to me like beautiful little dancers. They’re so beautiful for plating and serving whole, like the roasted carrots you see here.

Carrot tops are an absolute gift from the earth, and yet for some reason, I feel like they’re wildly under appreciated and underused. I’ve even had some farmer’s market vendors ask if I’d like the tops removed when I’m purchasing a bushel of carrots, and I had to stop them mid-tear! I think (understandably) they assume very few people will bother using them. I blame this on the fact that grocery stores generally sell carrots without their tops, and so people don’t realize just how valuable they are when cooking. Take, for example, this delicious carrot top pesto!

If you're in search of an idea for how to use both your carrots and carrot tops, then create this incredibly simple yet elegant and vibrant dish for your next meal, and freeze a few batches of this pesto for future meals, as well.

It’s such a treat when you can trust your local farmer’s market to come through with the whole package. Next time you pick up your haul, get your money’s worth and avoid food waste by bringing the whole bushel of carrots home and making these Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto!

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 40 Minutes

Yield: 1 pound carrots, 1 pound pesto (for use now and to store/freeze for later)


1 large bushel (1-1 ½ pounds) of carrots with tops

For the Carrots:

1 pound carrots, peeled

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Carrot Top Pesto:

4 cups carrot tops, rough stems removed, soaked in water and ¼ cup white vinegar for 15 minutes and then thoroughly rinsed and dry

3 garlic cloves

5 tablespoons pine nuts

2 cups fresh basil leaves

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the Carrots

  1. Toss the carrots in olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and bake them on a parchment paper lined sheet pan in a single layer for 40 minutes, flipping the carrots and rotating the pan halfway through.

For the Carrot Top Pesto

  1. Add the carrot tops, garlic, pine nuts, basil leaves, and cheese to a food processor and pulse until chopped, about 10 times.

  2. Add the olive oil and continue to chop in the food processor until a smooth pesto forms.

  3. Place about ¼ cup aside for this dish (more if you prefer), and freeze the rest in 4-8 ounce mason jars for future use.


  1. Place the carrots in a single layer on a platter, and use a teaspoon to top with carrot top pesto. Serve warm.

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