Monday, May 8, 2017

Carrot Top Pesto & Roasted Carrots with Imperfect Produce

Recently I started getting vegetable deliveries from a great company called Imperfect Produce. Their business model is to take fruit and vegetables that are not cute enough to sell in stores (and often go to waste) and offer them at a reasonable price for home delivery. I decided to give it a try because: 

1. I like the idea of eliminating food waste.
2. More veggies are never a bad thing.
3. My cooking routine needed some variety.
4. Most importantly the delivery is both right sized for my lifestyle and can be customized. 

If you live in LA, the San Francisco Bay Area or Orange County, I suggest you give it a try! If you sign up before May 10 and use the code "April Friend" you'll get $20 in free groceries! List me as your referral and get $10 more! If you are reading this after May 10, then you will just be able to get the referral bonus.

Enough about my sales pitch (though seriously they should hire me!), let me share some of my new recipes! 

In my first order I received organic rainbow carrots with the tops. I immediately knew I wanted to experiment with a pesto! I found a few recipes online but the one I liked best was super simple and addictively good. I have since made it another way but that is a another post!

This recipe was from a website called Don't Waste the Crumbs. I need to spend some time looking through this site as the author is all about making healthy meals for her family with real food and on a budget! It does not contain any cheese so it is good for vegans too!

As per usual, I made some modifications to this recipe which I will note below but here is the recipe as written for the most part. My notes will be indicated with a "G". 

Carrot Top Pesto

3 Tbsp nuts, roughly chopped 
1 garlic clove (G - If using minced garlic from the jar, use 1 1/2 teaspoons)
2 cups carrot tops (from 4-5 carrots, roughly chopped)
1/2 cup packed fresh herbs 
1/2 – 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

G - I used pistachios & basil for my nut and herb selection

1. Measure nuts and garlic into a food processor. Pulse until a rough paste forms. How much of a paste you form will depend on the type of nut you use. (The natural oils from the nut will be released to form the paste).

2.Add carrot tops and herbs and pulse until everything is in teeny tiny pieces and creates an even thicker, rougher paste. G - You will probably need to scrape the sides a bit. I also found that some of my garlic/nut mixture had a difficult time combining on it's own.

3. Add 1/2 cup olive oil and pulse/blend until the mixture is mostly smooth. If the pesto is too thick, add additional olive oil if desired, 1 Tbsp at a time. G- I did not measure this exactly and ended up adding a little citrus oil too. 

4. Season with salt and pepper. 

5. Makes about 1 cup. Store in a glass jar in the fridge. If you’re using quality olive oil, the pesto will likely solidify in the fridge. Bring to room temperature for 10 minutes before using.

G - I would probably add some fresh lemon juice or zest next time as the citrus olive oil really enhanced the flavor. 

Since I made the pesto on Grilled Cheese Day, I made myself an amazing sandwich and served it with a side of roasted carrots. The pesto was also a great dip for the carrots! 

I simply used this recipe for the carrots from I did not peel the carrots either - just cleaned them really well. No wasted skin!

Here is my photo of this delicious meal. My stomach is growling looking at it! My sandwich is a little on the lightly toasted side but only because I used healthy olive oil cooking spray instead of butter or mayo on the bread. It was still really good but I saved a few calories!

Do you have any good recipes to use up carrot tops or other often discarded parts of food?

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