28 April 2023

Pesto Made with Carrot Tops

Don't throw out leafy green carrot tops. Use them to make a tasty pesto sauce perfect for topping pasta or as a dip.

An abundant carrot harvest this year has given me a lot of carrot tops. I've thrown them away in the past, always wondering if there was something I use them for.

There is! Carrot tops are edible; you could add them to a salad if you wanted. 

Woman holds a bunch of green carrot tops in front of her with words Pesto Made with Carrot Tops to the left and road to self reliance dot com in the lower right.

What I prefer to do is use them to make pesto. I make a big batch and freeze so I can have pesto to eat all year.

Pesto is traditionally made with basil, and if you have fresh basil, you can use it along with the carrot tops. The first time I made it, I did a mix of the two, but in Florida the seasons for carrots and basil don't overlap much.

Ingredients for Carrot Top Pesto

  • Carrot Tops (and basil if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup Nuts for each cup of carrot tops (Pinenuts are traditional for pesto, but I use less expensive walnuts. Pecans are also good. If you have an abundance of a nut, try it.)
  • Salt to taste
  • Garlic to taste (a clove can be chopped up with everything else; fresh garlic bothers my stomach, so I use garlic powder)
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil for each cup of carrot tops
  • Hard cheese such as Parmesean or romano to taste

To Make the Pesto

  1. Remove the leafy parts of the carrot tops from the larger stems. Wash and drain. Pat dry to remove as much water as possible.
  2. Put nuts in the bowl of a large food processor and pulse to chop up. Add in as many of the carrot tops as will fit, then pulse to break up. Scrape the bowl of the processor, and add more carrot tops. Pulse several times. If using fresh garlic, add it now.
  3. Once everything is finely chopped, add the salt, lemon juice, and garlic powder (if not using fresh garlic).
  4. Turn the processor on high and let it run. Through the tube, slowly add the olive oil, a few tablespoons at a time. Check the consistency and add more oil. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. 
  5. Continue processing, adding oil a few tablespoons at a time, until reaching desired consistency.
  6. If you are going to eat the pesto immediately, add the cheese now, and process to distribute it. Serve over warm pasta. If you are going to freeze the pesto for later use, do not add cheese, and follow steps below.

To Freeze the Pesto

  1. I use an old ice cube tray, and fill each compartment with the pesto. 
  2. Place it in the freezer until frozen, several hours or overnight. 
  3. To remove from tray, run a dull knife (such as a table knife) around the edge of each cube to help release it, and store in a freezer bag until needed.

To Use Frozen Pesto

  1. When ready to use, pull out the number of cubes needed. (I find 3-4 work good for one serving). 
  2. Put in a pan over low heat. 
  3. As they thaw, stir and add more olive oil if needed. 
  4. When heated through, stir in grated hard cheese of your choice. Serve over warm pasta, or use as a dip.
Click below to watch the video of me making pesto with carrot tops.

Want More Ideas for Cooking with Scraps?

Don't throw out what you can use! You can find more recipes and ideas in the Cooking with Scraps label.

07 April 2023

Grow Your Own Sprouts and Always Have Fresh Greens

Sprouts are easy to grow on your kitchen countertop and can be ready in less than a week. Here’s how I do it.

Do you live in a climate where it is hard to grow lettuce? For me, in zone 9b in Florida, I can grow lettuce in the late fall and through winter, but the rest of the year, it is too hot.

Yet I want fresh greens to put on sandwiches and add to salads. I also want to produce more of my food and rely less on grocery stores.

I have found growing sprouts on my kitchen counter to be a great alternative. They are quick to produce, require little space, and are cost. 

This post contains affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase, I may receive a small amount of compensation at no additional cost to you.

Watch Video

Here's the video of my process for sprouting seeds. Supplies and instructions are below.


  1. Sprouting Seeds (I've purchased from Sprout People and from Mountain Rose Herbs with great results)
  2. Glass jar - I use a pint size
  3. Cover for the jar that lets you drain water – you can use cheesecloth and rubber band it around the top, which is what I did initially. However, it is messy, and the cheesecloth quickly wears out. I purchased a set of three from Sprout People and have found them to be a great help. You can easily change the screen from the smallest to larger holes to let the water drain effectively as the sprouts grow

To Sprout:

Put 1 tablespoon of sprouting seeds in the jar. If you have a larger jar, you can use more seeds and make more sprouts; however, be sure you will use them all before they go bad – mine last about 10 to 12 days in the refrigerator.

Cover seeds with plenty of water. You want to be sure they get completely wet.

Stir to be sure all seeds are wet.

Cover with a lid that will let you drain and let sit in a darker place on a counter for 8-12 hours. Different seeds have different soak times, so check the package or do an internet search for optimal soak times. I like to start mine in the evening and let them soak overnight.

Drain off the water. You may want to turn it upside down on a dish drainer to let the most of the water drain out.

Set the sprouts on the counter out of direct light.

About every 12 hours, add water to the jar and swirl it around to be sure all seeds are wet. Drain.

Continue with this until most of the seeds have sprouted and filled the jar. This will vary depending on the type of seed and the temperature of your home. Mine are ready a day or so earlier in summer than winter.

Remove from the jar and put in a container in the refrigerator.

How to Use Sprouts

  1. Put them on sandwiches. When it is too hot to grow lettuce, these are a great replacement. 
  2. Add them to salads.
  3. Mixed them into egg salad for a bit of crunch and flavor.
  4. Eat them out of hand as a snack.