The best carrot top sauce & dip you've ever had.

Carrot top pesto & summer dipping sauce



Putting carrot tops to good use can sometimes be a daunting task. They're a little grassy and quite frankly not to everyone's liking. I get it. I hear you.

However, I had this amazing experience recently that may lead you to believe that even the grassiest parts of the carrot can be transformed into something perfectly charming & utterly delicious.

Don't believe me? Read on.

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Carrot top pesto for the win

Recently Tom took me out for date night at one of the city’s best restaurants. I won’t name names but they pride themselves in nose to tail & seasonal fare. They also host an on-farm dinner at Riverbend Gardens. The long and short of it is that, while we were there, we enjoyed a scrumptious six-course meal and one of these dishes featured a carrot top pesto.

It was divine. Truly. My mind was completely blown. It was complex, bright yet rich, vibrant and yet perfectly umami. So, of course, I had to run home and create something inspired by the experience of this dish.


Enter Riverbend Garden’s carrot tops, grana padano & toasted hemp seed dip.

Hemp heart pesto
carrot top pesto with grana padano and hemp hearts

One sauce, two ways.

There are two ways of using this recipe. One is hot and omits the mayonnaise. It's a little more earthy, but it rounds out a pasta dish beautifully. The second is cool and creamy. Using all the ingredients turns it into the perfect salad dressing or a crudité dip. 

Carrot top dip recipe for crudite

wheat free, meat free, egg free, soy free, vegetarian

makes 3 C of sauce

1 C finely chopped carrot tops
1 C hemp hearts
/4 C olive oil
3/4 C finely grated Grana Padano cheese
1/4 C mayonnaise
2 T or more apple cider vinegar

Salt to taste 

15 mins prep

Begin by chopping the carrot tops as small as you can with a knife (like the photo above). 
I break tops off the carrots and chop until I have a full cups worth of chopped greens.
Grab a small pan, place it over medium heat and add your hemp hearts.
Stir every minute or so until the hemp hearts begin to brown. 
Careful here as they go from gold to char rather quickly.
Place them in the bowl of your food processor to cool.
Grate your cheese (Pecorino or Parmegiano would do well here if you don't have Grana Padano on hand)
Add the cheese to the bowl of cooled hemp hearts a long with the chopped greens.
Blend on high until it forms a paste, then slowly add the oil & apple cider vinegar.

You can stop here if you want to use it as a pesto or add in the mayonnaise if you want a pasta salad/bowl sauce or dip.



Pesto of any kind can go bad in the fridge pretty quickly. To keep this from happening store pesto in a jar that has a narrow opening & doesn't house a lot of air. To keep the pesto from oxidizing inside the jar, pour a little olive oil to "seal it in".