Sick of the same old thing as a side dish? This carrot top pesto recipe gives a dish that needed push. Dairy-free, Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, Whole30, & gluten-free. AIP-modification too.

I have to be honest, this recipe was a result of trying to please my 6 year old. It only kinda worked for that reason, but for finding a recipe that the rest of us loved it worked great. My son for some reason has decided he hates cooked carrots. It doesn't matter if it's pureed into a mash with maple syrup, puffed up in a delicious souffle, or even candied – he just doesn't like them!

Raw carrots he loves though. Go figure.

So I wanted to see if making a pesto from the tops of the carrots and then dousing that over the carrots would change his mind. Not so much. But like I said, the rest of us thought it was a nice change from our usual side dishes and something we will definitely be making on a more regular basis.

The main thing with this recipe is to make sure you get the carrots with their tops still on them. The tops are totally edible and quite delicious. Bonus points if you can find the multi-colored carrots. (Even my son was fascinated by the purple ones).

Most pestos contain parmesan cheese, but this one is dairy-free and instead gets its “tang” from lemon zest and juice. That makes this vegan, vegetarian, pegan, paleo, and geez louise, enough with the labels – it's just plain nutritious, real food!

This recipe makes enough pesto for the carrots and then some. Use the remainder over some roasted spaghetti squash, on some grain-free crackers, or mixed with some chicken or steak.


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Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto

  • Author: Michele Spring
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Oven & Food Processor


Sick of the same old thing as a side dish? This carrot top pesto recipe gives a dish that needed push. Dairy-free, Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, Whole30, & gluten-free. AIP-modification too.



For the Carrots

  • 2 bunches Carrots (approx 8)
  • 2 tbs Lard, melted*
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste (omit for AIP)

For the Pesto

  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1/4 cup Pine Nuts (omit for AIP – it's really ok without these)
  • 1 bunch Leafy Carrot Tops, washed
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • Pepper to taste (omit for AIP)
  • zest of 1 Lemon
  • juice of 1/2 Lemon (approx 1 tbs)
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil


For the Carrots

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F
  2. Chop the leafy tops off of the carrots (reserving them) and then wash and peel the carrots.
  3. Place the carrots on a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle the melted lard over them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for 35 minutes or until tender.

For the Pesto

  1. In a food processor, mince the garlic clove.
  2. Add the pine nuts and process until finely chopped up.
  3. Add the leafy carrot tops, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice and process until it is a paste.
  4. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Add more olive oil if you prefer a runnier pesto.
  5. Serve over the roasted carrots.


*I like to use Fatworks lard but if you don't have any on hand then coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil or tallow would work just as well.

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