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Vegan Nettle & Carrot-top Pesto

Photo: Tess Post


Almost everyone I know throws them away, but the green tops of carrots are perfectly edible! You can eat them raw or cooked (no, they are not poisonous), throw them in a salad or make salsa’s and chimichurris out of them. I usually make a pesto with them. Ever since I discovered that you can make pesto with anything, not just basil, I have been experimenting with all kinds of greens. Carrot tops do not have a very distinct taste, they taste kind of nutty and leafy to me. That is why I decided to mix this pesto with stinging nettles. Another green which everyone forgets about, but which literally grow everywhere and are completely free. So let’s get into the recipe!

Ingredients & utensils

  1. Carrot tops of one bunch of carrots

  2. Stinging nettles: about the same amount as your carrot tops

  3. Extra virgin olive oil

  4. Nuts and seeds of your choice (I used a combination of pistachios, cashews

  5. Lemon juice

  6. Salt & Pepper

  7. One big garlic clove

  8. Chickpeas or white beans/butter beans (optional)

  9. Blender, kitchen machine, pestle and mortar, whatever floats your goat and pumpkin seeds)

Note: I did not add specific measurements as it all depends on how much carrot tops you have, and on your taste of course. I just add everything together, taste it, and adjust. The chickpeas or beans are great to add some creaminess to the pesto, which would otherwise be given from the cheese or extreme amounts of oil. I prefer to add less oil and more chickpeas, but you can omit them and just add lots of oil. Also, pistachios are so great in this as they have a slight cheesy flavor!