Living without gluten, casein, soy, eggs and peanuts. Living with ASD and ADHD. Life is good!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Carrot Greens Pesto

Recently I splurged on a bunch of pretty rainbow-colored carrots with beautiful green tops. A friend told me you can use the greens to make pesto, so that's what I decided to do with them instead of feeding the composter. I was afraid the tops would be very bitter, so I scoured the net to find recipes featuring carrot greens. Turns out, you can use them to flavor stocks, accent salads, turn them into soup, and cook them like any other green. You can even use them as a mouthwash. I never knew! Taking a cue from this recipe, I blanched them before turning them into pesto and used cashews* to help offset any bitterness.

The verdict? This pesto is not bitter at all. In fact, it's delicious! It's surprising how much the girls love it! Anna enjoyed hers over spaghetti squash and Megan enjoyed hers stuffed into some celery. I'm doing all sorts of weird stuff lately...sprouting seeds, feeding our composting worms, making pesto out of carrot tops...the girls don't even bat their eyelids anymore. "What are you making, Mom?" "Well, my dears, I'm cooking carrot tops!" "Can we taste?" Awesome.

Carrot Greens Pesto

1 large bunch fresh carrot greens
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 - 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 - 4 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup nuts, if desired** (pine nuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews, or sunflower seeds)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Pinch off the feathery fronds of the carrot tops, leaving the stems behind (you can save those for your compost heap or use several to flavor homemade stock). Rinse the carrot greens three times in a water bath to make sure you get rid of all the grit and dirt.

Bring a pot of water to boiling. Add the carrot greens to the water and simmer for a couple of minutes, until the greens are wilted and bright green. Drain and place into a food processor with the garlic, olive oil, water, lemon juice, nuts if desired, salt and pepper. Process until combined, adding more olive oil and/or water to reach your desired consistency (I like my pesto thick). Taste and adjust salt if necessary. Serve and enjoy!

*I've been slowly reintroducing Anna to tree nuts. So far, so good...she is now able to eat hazelnuts and cashews in moderation.

**If you can't do nuts, try adding a little flax meal, 1 or 2 tbsp., to the pesto to help thicken if desired.


Anonymous said...

Awesome, indeed!


Heather said...

This is one of those things I say, "huh, you learn something new everyday". I had no idea you could consume the greens! I must be living under a rock;) I'm definitely going to try this. What did you serve your pesto with?

Erin said...

Hi Heather - I didn't know you can safely consume carrot greens, either! Carrots belong to the same botanical family as hemlock - hemlock is poisonous, but not carrots. Wild carrots are difficult to distinguish from hemlock, hence the belief that carrot greens are toxic. They are not, but I would not eat wild carrot all the same, to be safe. Domesticated carrot greens are perfectly safe for consumption.

I served this pesto as I serve any other pesto...with vegetables, as a dip, in a tortilla, swirled into soup, on top of'd be great on top of french bread (GF, of course) and broiled. :)