Roasted Whole Carrots With Vegan Carrot-Top Walnut Pesto
This recipe calls for a pesto made from the leafy carrot tops which are a great source of vitamins A, B6, C and K, folate, manganese, niacin, potassium and thiamin — all the things found in carrots, just disguised as their leafy long locks. Nutritional yeast is the star stand in for Parmesan cheese in the pesto which gives it a nice mild cheesy flavor and, of course, makes it vegan (happiness!). I served this with a gorgeous white lasagna the other night. But because of the beautiful color of the dark green pesto against the caramelized carrots, this dish was the star of the plate. Try this with your Easter brunch or dinner. Stack the carrots on a big tray, spoon the pesto on, serve at room temp or warmer, on and you're good to go!
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
2 lbs. of carrots, any color (a mix of orange, purple and yellow make for a beautiful presentation), with thick bushy tops that will yield 2 cups of carrot tops (after wilted tops are discarded/composted)
2 Tbs. olive oil
Real salt or kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 medium or one large clove of fresh garlic (to taste)
¼ cup raw walnuts (toasted if desired)
½ cup packed fresh basil
1 ½ tsp. nutritional yeast (more or less to taste)
½ cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°. Wash carrots and leave unpeeled. Trim carrot tops, leaving a couple inches of stem attached. Measure out 2 cups carrot tops (leafy parts only, discarding stems) and set aside. Toss carrots and olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until carrots start to develop a caramel color and become tender, 25–30 minutes. Meanwhile, pulse garlic and walnuts in a small food processor until a coarse paste forms. Add basil, nutritional yeast, and reserved carrot tops; process to a course puree. Drizzle in olive oil and pulse until combined; season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer carrots to a serving dish and spoon the pesto over the carrots in two strips or as it pleases your eye.