Roasted Carrots & Beets With Carrot Top Pesto


I’ve been blogging for over sixteen years, so you’d think by now that I’d have figured out how to plan ahead of time and get recipes tested, photographed, and scheduled for when I know I’m going to be busy, but unfortunately, that isn’t always true. I’ve had a heck of a month, and between health issues leading up to surgery last week, having weekly showings of our house, and trying to plan for a significant move up north in just a few months, I am once again playing blog post makeup. Life always seems to get in the way of my good intentions to be organized!

I do have this recipe to share that I made a couple of months ago. My husband and I are embracing vegetables as our primary focus, and I usually have a large bowl of leftover vegetables in the refrigerator at all times. I’ve always loved oven roasted vegetables as this preparation brings out the natural sugars of each vegetable giving them an earthy sweetness that is truly addictive. Carrots are one vegetable that completely transform when roasted, so if you have never tried baking them, I urge you to try. This dish came together one day after I bought a couple of bunches of beets and carrots at our local farmer’s market. I love buying my vegetables directly from the farmer because they understand how to treat vegetables and sell them with their tops attached. So many folks cut off the beet and carrot tops and discard them which is such a shame because both are very nutritious and delicious when properly prepared.

To turn this one dish into a meal, I serve it on top of greens such as baby kale or arugula, with a hearty grain such as farro or barley spooned onto the dish. I saved the beet tops and cooked them along with kale for another side dish, but you could also sauté the beet greens and arrange them on the platter under the carrots and beets. I used the carrot leaves to make a vibrant pesto type of dressing which added a brightness to this dish. The carrot leaves have an intense flavor, so it is best to combine them with parsley or basil to moderate the flavor just a bit. To finish this dish, I topped it with pumpkin seeds for texture, but you could use sliced almonds instead if you prefer.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2018

Roasted Carrots & Beets With Carrot Top Pesto

Ingredients:

Carrot Leaf Pesto:

  • 1 Cup Carrot Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley
  • 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts, Blanched Almonds, or Cashews
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • 2 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt to Taste

Roasted Vegetables:

  • 1 Large Bunch of Carrots, Tops Removed and Sliced in Half Lengthwise
  • 1 Large Bunch of Small Beets, Tops Removed (See Notes Above), Halved
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 1/4 Cup Lightly Toasted Pumpkin Seeds or Sliced Almonds

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Roughy chopped the carrot tops and parsley leaves.
  3. Add to a food processor along with the nuts and garlic, and pulse until a chunky paste forms.
  4. With the motor running add the lemon juice and olive oil.
  5. Season to taste with salt.
  6. In a large bowl toss the chopped carrots and beets with the oil then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Place on a aluminum foil lined baking sheet and roast until the veggies are fork tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes for the carrots, 30 minutes for the beets.
  8. Place the veggies on a platter and drizzle with the pesto, pumpkin seeds or almonds and additional salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve at room temperature.