For me, carrots fall into the category of vegetables that I simply don’t give enough love! I find myself thinking of the boring, mushy steamed carrots we were served as kids and I find myself bored before I even take a bite.
I tend to forget how amazing roasted and charred carrots can be. That roasted goodness, where the carrots get tender but still retain a bit of their bite in the middle. The slightly caramelized brings out the natural sweetness of the carrots.
These Charred Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto is the nose-to-tail of vegetable dishes. We use every bit of the carrot, from the tip of the root to the top of the leaves. The carrot tops get turned into a delicious, flavorful pesto to top the charred carrots and it takes this dish over the top. If you aren’t vegan/dairy-free, opt for parmesan cheese rather than the nutritional yeast and the hempseeds are optional, but are a great addition.
[print_this]Charred Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto
For the carrots:
- 1 bunch rainbow carrots, well scrubbed with a little of the top remaining
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add the carrots (depending on the size of your pan, you may have to work in batches) and cook over high heat until they are slightly charred, about 5 – 7 minutes, giving them a turn or two to char all sides. You want the carrots to be tender but still have a bit of a bite to them. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove the charred carrots from the pan and arrange on a serving platter and top with the Carrot Top Pesto (recipe below). Serve immediately.
Carrot Top Pesto
- 2 cups lightly packed carrot tops, stems removed
- 1/4 cup toasted almonds (pine nuts or walnuts)
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese)
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Toast the nuts in a dry pan over medium heat to bring out their flavor. You can also spread them in a layer on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 10 minutes in a 350ºF oven until lightly browned.
In your food processor or high speed blender, combine the nuts and the garlic and pulse a few times until roughly chopped and broken up. Add the carrot leaves, olive oil, nutritional yeast (or cheese), hemp seeds (if using) and sea salt. Pulse until just combined. Taste and adjust your seasonings as needed. Refrigerate, covered for up to 3 days. [/print_this]