Carrot and Turnip Top Pesto

What You'll Need

  • blender or food processor
  • good kitchen knife and clean cutting surface
  • 4 ounce mason jars for storage
  • 4 cups miscellaneous leafy vegetable tops; carrots, turnips, radishes; well rinsed, dried, and rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1.5 cups shelled walnuts
  • salt to taste

I was inspired to write this piece after a recent trip to the Farmer’s Market, where I found an abundance of both fresh local produce…and a pile of beautiful discarded carrot tops. This pesto is vibrant and fresh; green, bright and almost grassy. Yes it is fresh as the first weeds of spring. Add a dollop to roasted potatoes, a plop atop a bowl of creamy soup. Or slice up something gorgeous, like a bunch of watermelon radishes, and treat it as a luscious and healthy dip.


Makes approximately 1 quart

1) Prepare greens

Prepare the greens as directed. After rinsing, pat dry, and chop coarsely. I generally prefer to use the tops as opposed to just the bare stems of the greens; the texture is better that way. Plenty of stem gets in the pesto, either way. It’s all good food.

2) Blend ingredients

Place half of the chopped greens in the blender.
Add the olive oil, nuts, and part of the lemon juice.
Blend on high until the mixture becomes creamy and smooth, then add in the remaining greens and blend until the texture is again uniform and smooth.

3) Season and serve or store

Taste and add the rest of the lemon juice and salt, if desired. Blend to combine, and serve. 

If you have a fancy blender, good for you. Ours is not fancy. Sometimes the pesto wants to be pushed down, to blend the ingredients on top. This is a great way to destroy wooden spoons, and other kitchen implements. I like to use a carrot to push the pesto down—no trouble at all if the tip hits the spinning blender blades, just a little beta carotene in the mix. Much better than splinters.

This recipe is meant to be consumed within a few days. After that period of time the pesto can begin to discolor and loose its bright, fresh flavor.

Over to You

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