The convenience of acquiring neat packaged carrots almost makes us forget that this tuber grows underground and leaves precious green leaves on the surface, which are also perfectly edible. It pays to buy the raw vegetable to prepare at home this amazing carrot leaf pesto, as tasty as it is versatile.
Like traditional pesto and any of its variants, more than a recipe it is a starting point that we can customize to taste. We like to combine the leaves with roasted almonds, but you can use any other dried fruit, or the classic pine nuts. If the flavor seems like a source, you just have to add more lemon, lower it with water, add more cheese or try other herbs.
For 1 units
- 70 g Carrot leaves (from a bunch of vegetables)
- One Garlic clove
- 70 g Toasted almonds
- 10 ml Lemon juice and zest to taste
- 60 g Grated Parmesan cheese
- 120 ml Extra virgin olive oil (approximately)
- Salt 1 teaspoon or to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
How to make pesto with carrot leaves
Total time: 15 minutes
Elaboration: 15 minutes
Cut the carrot leaves and save the vegetable for other uses. It is usual that they come with earth or sand; shake a little first to get as much of it out as possible.
Cut the leaves themselves from the thicker stems, leaving the finer branches. Put in a container with water and wash very well, stirring by hand, rinsing them several times. Then drain with a vegetable spinner, or dry thoroughly with clean cloths.
Chop a little with a knife. Chop the garlic clove, removing the germ if we are very sensitive, and chop the almonds lightly. Place all the leaves in the glass of a mixer, robot or processor -the best option-, along with the chopped garlic clove, the lemon juice, the almonds and half the oil.
Crush a little to start having a homogeneous mass. Add the cheese, lemon zest, salt and black pepper. Continue grinding until you have a paste. Add the remaining oil little by little and continue grinding, stirring when necessary.
It only remains to try and adjust the texture and ingredients to taste. It can be left more pasty, to add oil or broth later according to the recipe, or more humid, with more oil or even with some water. If it had a very strong flavor, add more lemon and / or cheese.
With what to accompany the carrot pesto
In addition to the obvious, that is, combined with pasta or pizza, carrot pesto is a spice of spreadable cream, sauce or delicious dip to enrich all kinds of dishes. If we have prepared it by leaving it rather thick, it can give us much more game.
A good idea is to try it spread on a slice of good bread, to better appreciate its flavor, and from there try combinations with other ingredients to make appetizers or canapés. On a cream cheese base, or crowning the pesto with a fresh and softer cheese, such as the goat cheese roll or mozzarella, it is already a delicious snack.
Another very versatile option is to use this pesto as a dressing for salads or vegetable dishes. It makes a great match with good tomato and other sweet fresh vegetables, such as cucumber or spinach sprouts, lamb’s lettuce or some lettuce. It also enhances roasted vegetables, served hot or cold, such as bell peppers, and of course pairs perfectly with baked carrots themselves.
We can use it as a dressing for grilled or roasted meats, enriching a vinaigrette, flavoring an herb butter or as a complement to a yogurt sauce or mayonnaise. Its flavor is almost addictive if it is served on a good hummus, or accompanied by baked fish or papillote.
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