Carrot Top Pesto


woman holding carrots at farmers market
Zoe from Happy Boy Farms with carrots at Jack London Square Farmer’s Market
Photo by Anna Buss

Too many times I have seen people ask market venders to remove the tops from their carrots. What they don’t realize is the tops are delicious!

Carrots belong to the parsley family. And the green tops have a flavor very similar to parsley, making them an excellent ingredient in pesto. The most flavorful tops are found on young carrots, and blanching them allows for a smooth, beautifully vibrant green pesto. For this root-to-stem recipe, we used Nelson carrots from Happy Boy Farms in the Jack London Square Farmer’s Market of Oakland, California.

Carrot Top Pesto
(Serves 4–6)

bowl of carrots with carrot top pesto



  1. Remove greens from carrots.
  2. Blanch greens in salted water until tender and bright green.
  3. Remove greens from water and shock in ice bath. Squeeze out water and set aside.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with arugula, and then with carrot bottoms.
  5. Blanch almonds until shells become loose. Remove almonds from water and allow to cool. Shell and set aside.
  6. Combine carrot greens, arugula, garlic, almonds, olive oil, and lemon in food processor. Blend until smooth, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Toss pesto with blanched carrots, and serve. Pesto can also be tossed with your favorite spring salads, pasta, and veggies, or spread it on a sandwich.

Recipe created by Mario Hernandez, program coordinator and market chef for Cookin’ the Market