This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is Fresh from the Garden and it’s all about freshly picked goodies. While I don’t have a garden of my own at the moment, I dream about the day when I own a home with a backyard and a vegetable garden full of deliciousness. Until that day, I get my fill of fresh produce by visiting farmer’s markets whenever I can.
While the weather this time of year is not my favorite (I’m a winter baby, deal with it), the produce most certainly is. Berries, nectarines, watermelons, zucchini, cucumbers, string beans, okra, tomatoes – the list of wonderful summer produce goes on and on. But one thing that I don’t think gets as much attention this time of year as it should is the humble carrot.
Carrots are available all year round, and for me, at least, they are most associated with the beginnings of soup or chili. But in the summer you get a two for one deal; carrots and their bright, fresh greens. That’s right, much like radishes, turnips, and beets, carrot greens are perfectly edible!
My favorite thing to do with the greens is to make a pesto and serve it along with roasted carrots. It’s the perfect pairing; the greens are grassy and just a little bitter, while the carrots are creamy and sweet. They just perfectly compliment each other. I’ve also made crostini with carrot green pesto topped with sweet, roasted cherry tomatoes which was equally delicious.
Side note, the next time you’re at your local farmer’s market, check to see if they have any greens to give away. I recently stopped by the Union Square farmer’s market with my friend Jenny and we watched in horror as the vendor ripped off the greens from a bunch of beets at the buyer’s request. It turns out, many people opt to take off the greens from their produce, and the vendors are happy to give them to you. For free. And all you have to do is ask. This is basically how I scored an insane amount of beet and carrot greens last week and have been slowly making my way through them every since.
Anyway, the point is, the next time you see a bunch of carrots with some gorgeous greens, don’t throw them away! Use those carrots and their greens to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Roasted Carrots with Carrot Green Pesto
1 bunch carrots and their greens (should be about 2 cups of greens)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Water, to thin
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350F
1. Remove the greens from the carrots. Peel the carrots and toss them in one tablespoon of olive oil and a dash of salt to coat. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes, until fork tender.
2. Remove the woodier stems of the greens and toss the leaves in a food processor with the walnuts, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Pulse to combine, then drizzle in the water one tablespoon at a time to thin the pesto to the desired consistency. Adjust salt and pepper, to taste
3. Allow the carrots to cool slightly (to serve warm), or cool carrots in the refrigerator overnight (to serve cold). Top the roasted carrots with the pesto right before serving.