Allotment Cooking: Carrot Top Pesto

One of the most important lessons I’ve learnt about growing carrots is not to leave carrot thinnings lying around because the scent attracts carrot fly. The second thing I’ve learnt about growing carrots is to sow thinly (I’m working on that) because thinning carrots is no fun.

Last week, I thinned the carrots and ended up with a massive bag of carrot greens and I had to find something to do with them. I had vague idea that I would make pesto with them. So after washing them, which took forever, I did.Proper pesto is a regional thing, made with basil and pine nuts and is probably pounded with a pestle and mortar by Italian mammas but only in a specific part of Italy. I am English, we’re known for taking food from other countries and changing it beyond recognition and liking it like that. From spagetti bolognaise to chicken tikka masala, there isn’t a food culture we haven’t played fast and lose with.

The same applies to pesto. For reasons of economy, I usually make mine with rocket although I have dabbled with nasturtium pesto too. I don’t often have pine nuts in the house, they are phenominally expensive and more generally I just use mixed seeds, which works for me although seems to be undocumented on the blog. This version wasn’t all carrot tops either, there were some spring onion thinnings in it but I don’t think enough to make too much of a flavour difference.All the recipes I found had some basil in them, I made a version with and one without and felt the version with had the edge, however the most important thing not to forget was the salt which seemed to have more of an impact on how bland I found it.

Finally a word about my measurements, I’m very lax about this and most of the recipes used cups, which I do here but a cup of carrot tops for me, looked something like this. So remember it’s a rough not a precise guide!

3 cups of carrot greens

1/2 a cup of basil leaves

1/2 cup of grated parmesan or italian hard cheese

1/4 mixed seeds

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon seasalt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Olive oil (Extra virgin is best but it workes with the normal kind!)

Add everything but the oil to a blender bowl. Start to blend and add olive oil until you get the consistency you like. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.



About nicdempsey

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3 Responses to Allotment Cooking: Carrot Top Pesto

  1. Sharon says:

    I really must make more effort to be more creative with my growings. That pesto looks yummy. Something with courgettes…

    • nicdempsey says:

      My go to for courgettes are griddling, then covering with lemon juice, salt, feta and herbs; courgette cake; courgette pizza which is so much better than you’d imagine; courgette caviar and courgette pickle. That takes care of most of it and I’m gearing up for the work all of that involves as the courgette glut begins!

  2. Pingback: Cooking from the Allotment: It’s that time of year | Nic Dempsey

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