Carrot Top Walnut Pesto
CARROT TOP GREENS: Leafy green packed with protein and vitamins, carrot tops are an outstanding source of chlorophyll, the mineral in plants that allows photosynthesis to take place. Chlorophyll has detoxifying properties helping to clean cells, purify blood and combat tumors.
GARLIC: The anti-inflammatory benefits in garlic not only assist the cardiovascular system, but also the musculoskeletal and respiratory systems. Antibacterial and antiviral compounds in garlic help to control infection. And, a high intake of garlic has been proven to lower risk for virtually all cancer types.
WALNUTS: Walnuts contain an unusual form of Vitamin E providing significant protection from heart problems. Phytonutrient research ranks walnuts high in protection against cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes due to their high omega-3 content and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Option
Serves about 6-8
4 cups packed Carrot top greens, (about one bunch carrots) rinsed and trimmed to where the leaves begin on the stem
2-4 garlic cloves, to taste
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 1/2 cup walnuts (or other nut/seed like pine nuts or sunflower seeds)
1 cup parmesan cheese (optional)
½ cup to 1 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
In a small pan on the stove set to a medium setting, place the walnuts in a pan. Allow to toast for about 5 minutes, or until the nut become fragrant and start to 'pop' a little. Careful not to over brown, you want a light toast to highlight the flavors. Allow to cool.
In a food processor, combine carrot tops and garlic, lemon, toasted walnuts, and cheese (if using); process until well chopped, scraping sides.
Incorporate ½ cup olive oil into the pesto and blend until smooth. Add more olive oil for desired consistency and season with salt and pepper to taste.
CHEF'S NOTE: This pesto makes a delicious dipping sauce for an appetizer with a vegetable crudités, or thin it down some with a bit more olive oil and use it as a sauce for a quick pasta dish. It's an amazing sandwich spread to increase nutrition at lunch. Plus, it freezes really well, so. are a big batch and save some for later!