I first developed this recipe for an article I did for Vegetarian Times years ago about using all the parts of a vegetable, including, of course, carrot tops.

The pesto is great on its own with many things, including pastas, potato salads, and sandwiches, but I like to turn it into more of a dressing/vinaigrette to spoon it over roasted vegetables – especially roasted carrots and roasted cherry tomatoes!

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 packed cups carrot top leaves and tender stems, plus 8 to 12 large sprigs for garnish
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro sprigs 
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped toasted walnuts, divided
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano Regianno
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


To make the pesto:

1. In a medium food processor, pulse the garlic until finely chopped.

2. Add the carrot tops, the cilantro, and 1/3 cup of the walnuts. Process until finely chopped.

3. Add the Parmigiano and process again to combine. Taste and add a bit of salt if desired.

4. Add the 1 teaspoon vinegar and pulse to mix in. With the motor running, gradually pour in the 1/3 cup oil through the tube in the processor lid. Process until well incorporated. 

Dressing variation:  Whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons hot water, and 1 to 2 teaspoons white balsamic (or other) vinegar into the pesto to reach a looser consistency.