A Rainbow of Carrots (And a Carrot Top Pesto Recipie)

DSC 2310 HDR

I do love springtime in Michigan. It’s a time when the second largest exporter (under California) of produce starts to wake and all the goodies and treats start becoming available. This morning, one of my urban farmer friends from ACRE Detroitposted on his Facebook that the first batch of rainbow carrots were ready for harvesting and I jumped on the opportunity to get my hands on some.

945910 10100914586418584 1016083203 nHe even delivered it to my door. Such a nice guy! 

 The carrots themselves don’t taste much differently than regular carrots. I will say that they’re sweeter and more wonderfully intense in their flavor (although that might have more to do with the fact that the carrots are organic and were picked that morning). Still, the health benefits of magenta and purple carrots are rather immense. The coloring they get are come from the same antioxidant chemicals give blueberries their color and it’s no secret that blueberries are one of the healthiest things we can put in our mouths. The best thing about these carrots is that we already know what to do with them; they’re not as exotic as we assume. Because they taste so much like the carrots we know, we can put them in anything that demands regular carrots and reap the extra health benefits that they provide. They just make things prettier and healthier. Today, however, I didn’t make anything with the carrots themselves. I focused more on the tops.

DSC 2341No, I’m not going to reference the comedian for a cheap chuckle… dammit. 

Carrot tops are just as edible as their roots. They can taste a little bitter, but they can be sautéed with garlic and onion or put into salads. It’s important in this case to get organic carrots if you’re going to use the tops because the pesticides used in large factory farms are hardest to get rid of in the leaves. In this case, I made a carrot-top and toasted almond pesto (because, have you seen the price of pine nuts these days?)

Carrot-Top and Toasted almond Pesto


  1. 2 Cups Carrot Tops
  2. 2 Cloves of Garlic
  3. 1/4 C toasted Almonds
  4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to proper consistency)
  5. Salt (to taste)


  1. Toast blanched almonds on a dry skillet until they slightly brown and the aroma is sweet
  2. Remove the leafy portion of the carrot tops from the stems
  3. Run the leaves though a food processor until very fine
  4. Add garlic cloves and run (the food processor) until garlic has been incorporated
  5. Add almonds and run (you’d get me by now, right? Because I mean the food processor) while pouring in the olive oil until they reach a consistency between a paste and a liquid.
  6. Run (…) while adding bits of salt, pausing occasionally to taste it to your preference
  7. Store in an airtight container for a week
  8. Use with pastas, poultry or fish and brag about how you performed this sorcery with the part of the carrot most people throw away

DSC 2347Carrot Tops – Stemmed

DSC 2349Carrot Top Pesto

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7 thoughts on “A Rainbow of Carrots (And a Carrot Top Pesto Recipie)

  1. Rick says:

    Ryan never delivers carrot tops to my door!

  2. Karen says:

    So, when I opened the blogsite, I hit the page in the middle. And for the life of me….I couldn’t figure out while you were incorporating RUNNING into the cooking. Then I though…well, it IS Jon. So….um….anything is possible.

    1. Add garlic cloves and *run until garlic has been incorporated* 2. Add almonds and *run while pouring in the olive oil* until they reach a consistency between a paste and a liquid. 3. *Run while adding bits of salt, pausing occasionally* to taste it to your preferenceS

    • jonkung says:

      Hahahaha! Well, I meant run as in “run the food processor” but however you put it, I suppose you would be healthier in the end. I will edit and clarify, thank you!

  3. Ok – super cool idea! Using carrot tops for pesto – brilliant! Definitely going to try it.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. How excellent! I was making juice the other day (I refuse to use the term “juicing” for some strange reason) and was curious if the carrot tops would be good to throw in as well. I was too lazy to look it up, but glad to see this and know that the (organic) tops are indeed edible. Yay and yum!

    • jonkung says:

      “Juicing” makes me think of large angry cow-shaped-men in Californian gyms.

      Do give it a try and let me know what you think! There’s a nice bitterness to them but they’re fragrant and sweet at the same time. Of course, be certain the carrots you buy are organic. Now that I think about it, I’ve only seen organic carrots sold with tops…

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