This post is sponsored by Pompeian, who you probably know for their delicious, high quality extra virgin olive oils and vinegars. My last blog post with them was about how to make a delicious and filling entree salad every time. Today we’re talking food scraps, and how to utilize them to make nutritious and tasty dishes + save money and help the environment! Don’t miss the recipes, photos, and video below!
About 50% of all produce goes to waste each year in the United States. Globally, the figure is around 30%––which is still way too high––but the United States is winning the waste game. In fact, most of the trash in American landfills is food waste. There are so many reasons for this, like the low cost of food, pickiness about how produce looks, and overly busy lifestyles. Luckily there are simple solutions to fix this problem, and it all begins with how we see waste, and taking responsibility over it.
In 2017 I was a guest on the awesome A&E TV show Scraps with Joel Gamoran. The show takes viewers around the country to explore creative and practical ways to utilize food scraps. Being on that show helped me to realize that I could be doing a lot more with my own scraps at home. For years composting has been an important part of my life, but so much of what we throw into the compost bin is still perfectly edible and nutritious. I still make some of the recipes we created on that show, and I’m super excited to share a few of them in this week’s blog post and video. They’re not the exact recipes from the show, but my take on how to hook up some of our most common food scraps.
One of the most tragic things we toss is carrot tops. I’ve been known to passionately explain to people at the grocery store why they should not throw away the greens. I’m sure I seem halfway crazy, but to me, what’s really crazy is how we so casually toss such a rich source of flavor and nutrition.
Carrot tops, or the greens attached when you buy them by the bunch (or pull them out of the ground), are high in beta-carotene, potassium, calcium, vitamin K—they even have far more vitamin C than the carrots themselves. They have a slight bitterness like most greens, and a unique earthy flavor that reminds me a bit of parsley. You can chop them up and stir them into soups, toss them with salad greens, use them in place of herbs, put them in veggie burgers, stir them into tofu scramble, blend them into smoothies, or add them to green juice. One of my favorite ways to use them, however, is to make a carrot top pesto with toasted pumpkin seeds, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. The pesto is perfect served over roasted carrots (& other roasted veggies), on pasta, on pizza, or as a dip.
Carrot top pesto is super easy to make, and it adds so much flavor to whatever you use it on. I use a food processor to make it, but you could also mince the leaves and other ingredients by hand (which admittedly will take a bit longer). To make it I use the robust extra virgin olive oil from Pompeian. The smooth and rich EVOO helps to balance any bitterness from the greens, and the tartness from the lemon. The toasted pumpkin seeds are an important part of this pesto, but if for some reason you can’t get your hands on them, or don’t have any around, you could sub them out for toasted almonds, pecans, or walnuts. Of course it’s also absolutely delicious with toasted pine nuts.
You’re going to want to eat this pesto with a spoon straight from the food processor!
Carrot top pesto recipe below! You can find the recipes for the Pear Apple Syrup, Crunchy Stem Slaw, and Veggie Stock in the description box under the video. Click here. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!!
Carrot Top Pesto
- 1 bunch of carrot tops/greens with or without stems
- ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2-4 tablespoons Pompeian extra virgin olive oil
- Place carrot tops, pumpkin seeds, garlic, lemon juice, and salt in the food processor, and blend until combined.
- While it’s running pour the olive oil into the food processor, and continue to blend for a few more seconds. Your pesto should not be a puree, but still have some texture.
- Season with more lemon and salt if necessary.
- It will keep fresh for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
Easy Roasted Carrots
- 2 bunches of carrots about 12, scrubbed clean
- 3 tablespoons Pompeian grapeseed oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450°, and line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper.
- Place the whole carrots onto the baking sheet, then drizzle on the oil.
- Toss them lightly to coat, then spread evenly onto the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle on the salt and pepper, then roast for 30 minutes, or until tender and crispy at the tips.
Lora Hein / May 14, 2022 at 9:57 pm /
When you say a “bunch” of carrot tops, about how much might that be? Some bunches have a lot and some have less. If I am pulling carrots and their greens out of the garden, no idea how much constitutes the right amount to go with the measurements of the rest of the ingredients.
Mary Stine / December 20, 2021 at 12:59 am /
I like to use fresh radish tops. I wash them really well and chop to add in with my other greens I’m cooking. Radish tops add a nice peppery flavor to blander greens like chard, as well as a nice texture.
I’ve used carrot tops in vegetable soups before. Sometimes they work out better than parsley.
It would probably be a good idea to freeze some of the
Giftbasketworldwide / September 20, 2021 at 6:14 am /
Loved your post. Best wishes from my side.
Mariners1 / November 11, 2018 at 2:08 pm /
Speaking of food waste, I have a boat load of sweet potatoes. The Inspiralized web site has a great recipe for sweet potato rice. The sweet potato rice is so much better for you then everyday rice. Also, sweet potato rice holds up better then cauliflower rice and really adds to the flavor of Asian stir fries. Give it a try.
Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul / November 14, 2018 at 6:07 am /
Fabulous tip! I love riced sweet potato too 🙂
Mariners1 / November 11, 2018 at 2:00 pm /
I agree with your comments about food waste. I work at our local Farmer’s Market. If there are unsold vegetables that they can’t sell the next Saturday due to spoilage, they either feed their hogs with the vegetables or throw them away. At the end of the day at the market, I get as many salvageable tomatos I can get my hands on. I cut off the bad spots. Then I roast the tomatoes, let them cool and peel off the skins. Usually, I can them in quart jars to make spaghetti sauce or salsa when my supply runs low. I now have about 15 quarts of canned tomatoes for future use or I give the finished products, spaghetti sauce or salsa, to a local orphanage.
Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul / November 14, 2018 at 6:08 am /
Wow! I love that you do that with the tomatoes. So inspiring!! I bet that sauce/salsa is delicious 🙂