The BEST Carrot Top Pesto

Jump to Recipe
Lemons, olive oil, carrots with tops, and a bowl of carrot top pesto

Wondering what to do with carrot tops? Make pesto! If you’ve made it before and thought “Hmm, that’s resourceful, but I wouldn’t make it again,” we urge you to give this version a try! Thanks to a little help from fresh basil, it’s just mildly earthy and worthy of saving in your recipe box! 

It adds an herby brightness to pasta, quinoa, roasted carrots, potatoes, chicken, and much more. Bonus? It’s dairy-free and comes together in just 5 minutes in a food processor or blender. Let’s make pesto!

Carrots, lemon, garlic, water, salt, olive oil, pine nuts, and basil

Adapted from our Easy Vegan Pesto, this carrot top version brings just enough basil on board to balance the earthiness of the carrot tops. Pine nuts add richness, lemon juice brightness, garlic a little kick, and sea salt rounds it all out.

Food processor with basil, carrot tops, salt, and pine nuts

It all swirls around in a food processor or blender with olive oil for sauciness and water to keep it from being heavy while encouraging blending. The result is creamy, dippable pesto that adds instant flavor to your meals!

Carrot top pesto in a food processor

We can’t wait for you to try this carrot top pesto! It’s:

& SO delicious!

Next time you have carrot tops around, make carrot top pesto and you’ll be doing your part to change the world with your waste-free ways 🙌! Bonus? It tastes good and pairs well with everything from pasta to quinoa, roasted carrots, potatoes, chicken, and more!

More Herby Dips & Sauces

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Bowl of pasta tossed with carrot top pesto

The BEST Carrot Top Pesto

Vibrant, herby carrot top pesto with fresh basil and hidden carrot tops! Delicious with grains, roasted vegetables, chicken, and more. Ready in just 5 minutes!
Author Minimalist Baker
Overhead shot of a bowl of vegan carrot top pesto
4.56 from 9 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 6 (~2 Tbsp servings)
Course Dip
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 4-5 Days


  • 1 cup loosely packed carrot tops, tough stems removed (~1 small or 1/2 medium bunch yields ~1 cup or 20 g)
  • 1 ½ cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, large stems removed
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (or sub walnuts, pistachios, or cashews)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus more as needed)
  • 1-2 Tbsp water (plus more as needed)


  • Remove the carrot greens from a bunch of carrots, rinse them, and choose the freshest looking greens. Discard the rest (or save for bunnies — they love them!).
  • Add all your pesto ingredients except the water to a food processor (or small blender) and process until it's broken down into a chunky mixture. Add water 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time until creamy and dippable, keeping in mind water will dilute the flavor, so avoid adding too much (we used 2 tablespoons total).
  • Taste and adjust as needed, adding more olive oil for richness, lemon juice for brightness, basil if too thin, or water to reach desired consistency.
  • Enjoy with roasted carrots, potatoes, pasta, and more! Leftover pesto will keep stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, but will lose some of its bright green color.



*Recipe as written makes ~3/4 cup pesto.
*Loosely adapted from our Easy Vegan Pesto.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 (two tablespoon) serving Calories: 106 Carbohydrates: 3.5 g Protein: 1.3 g Fat: 9.1 g Saturated Fat: 1.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 211 mg Potassium: 120 mg Fiber: 1.3 g Sugar: 0.8 g Vitamin A: 983 IU Vitamin C: 4.8 mg Calcium: 20 mg Iron: 0.6 mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @minimalistbaker on Instagram and hashtag it #minimalistbaker so we can see all the deliciousness!

If you love this recipe...

Get Our Fan Favorites eBook Here!

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment & Rating!

Have a question? Use ctrl+f or ⌘+f on your computer or the "find on page" function on your phone browser to search existing comments! Need help? Check out this tutorial!

My Rating:

  1. Ellie says

    This pesto is so good! I just harvested a ton of carrots and happy I can use the tops! I added in a bit of fresh cilantro because I had that, too, and used cashews in place of pine nuts. Also added a Tbs or so of nutritional yeast. I went a bit heavy on the lemon so it’s a bit more zippy than I like, but that is my fault! Thanks for the great vegan recipe!

  2. Jennifer J Whitaker says

    Absolutely delicious. We had a decent harvest of carrots and I want to use as much as possible. This recipe is a keeper!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so sorry you didn’t enjoy it, Danni. Is it possible the walnuts were old/rancid? Did they taste fine on their own?

  3. Brittney says

    My toddlers and I make the quick pesto weekly but this week we picked up carrots from our farmers market and decided to try this one out. It’s my favorite pesto so far! For anyone who hasn’t tried fresh carrot tops, they’re so yummy and this recipe is perfect for them. Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed this one even more, Brittney! Thank you for sharing! xo

    • Maria says

      I made this today and love it’s!!! Used half walnuts half hazelnuts WoW! Hazelnuts really made a difference only thing I put lil extra salt by mistake 🤷🏻‍♀️ See how I’ll tone it down!?
      Definitely a keeper👍🏼

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Yay! We’re so glad you enjoy it. Maria. You could add more basil/lemon to try to tone done the salt!

  4. Jen says

    Had a ton of carrot tops and started w this. It’s excellent! I used far less basil as I didn’t want to strip my plant, haha, and it tempered the greens so nicely and wasn’t basil forward. I added some lemon zest and nutritional yeast (think it’d be fantastic as written without, too) and used pistachios. Thanks for another keeper!!

  5. Pam McNab says

    Made with walnuts instead of pine nuts. I was a little shy on the lemon juice so I added a bit of the pulp that came out on my juicer and it was delicious. This is easy and a great way to make use of those carrot tops. Absolutely delicious. Will be making it any time I have carrot tops to use!

  6. Sheila says

    Delicious and easy! I used cashews instead of pine nuts. I used the stems too and just ground it more.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! So glad you enjoyed it, Sheila. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  7. Karen S says

    Is there anything I can substitute for the basil? Both basil and mint give me reflux, but I love the idea of using my carrot tops.

  8. karen w says

    I was wondering what you can use instead of garlic as I have an allergy to it or can I leave it out.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      You can leave it out! To compensate you may need to add a bit more salt or lemon juice. If you can have shallots, a little bit of shallot might be nice in place of the garlic. Hope you enjoy, Karen! xo