Cooking stem to root has become not only a way to reduce food waste, but also an extremely trendy cuisine these days. It's all about experimenting with eating the whole plant and finding unexpected ways to use edible plants and flowers in preparation and granishes. I have had some really delicious dishes with beet greens, but wanted to experiment at home with carrot greens first, as I usually have and waste those.
Carrot tops are quite bitter and so I wanted to prepare them in a way that would make sense and still taste good. Since pesto is one of my weekly go to salad components, I decided to experiment with a carrot top pesto. In this recipe I used basil, garlic and lemon juice to add some more flavor to the strong tasting greens. I did not use cheese, but you could also add Parmesan. Walnuts were my nut of choice, but you can really use any number of nuts such as Brazil or pine nuts. I have been playing with other kinds of oil besides olive oil and really like how avocado oil works in dressings like pesto.
CARROT TOP PESTO
- Greens from tops of 3-4 carrots
- Fresh basil
- 2 garlic cloves
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup of walnuts
- Pepper to taste
- Avocado oil
- Rip off stem and chop up the greens before putting them in the food processor (I found that mine got too tangled when I put them right in).
- Add all ingredients except oil to the food processor. Pulse until everything is evenly combined.
- Drizzle avocado oil while pulsing. Continue this process until pesto is at your desired thickness. I usually keep a thick pesto in the fridge for a week and will add more lemon juice and oil to some of it when I want it as a thinner dressing.
- 4 large carrots
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
- About 25 fava bean pods
- Unzip the fava bean pods by pinching the end and ripping down the seam-like edge. If you have trouble doing this, slice them open with a thin, sharp knife. Remove the encased beans.
- Prepare an ice bath while boiling water in a large pot. Add salt to the water and blanch the beans for about 3 minutes. See this lesson on blanching vegetables.
- At the same time, bring a smaller pot of water or vegetable broth+cup of quinoa to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked.
- After beans have cooled, use your fingers or a thin, sharp knife to open the little cases and squeeze gently so the beans pop out.
- Thinly slice radishes or use a mandoline. Use a vegetable peeler, grater or mandoline to either ribbon or grate the carrot roots.
- Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss with the pesto.