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.

Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto - a Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free side dish 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.

Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto - a Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free side dish

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.

Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto - a Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free side dish


Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto

Preparation 10 minutes Cook Time 35 minutes Serves 4 servings     adjust servings


    For the Carrots

    • 2 bunches Carrots (approx 8)
    • 2 tbs Cooking Oil*
    • Salt and Pepper to taste

    For the Pesto

    • 1 clove Garlic
    • 1/4 cup Pine Nuts
    • 1 bunch Leafy Carrot Tops, washed
    • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
    • Pepper to taste
    • 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.


    Recipe Notes

    *I like to use melted Fatworks lard but you can also use coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, butter, ghee, or tallow as well.

    Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto - a Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, Whole30 and vegan side dish recipe. Quickly whip up this pesto to add a ton of flavor to carrots. #paleo #vegan #gluten-free #dairy-free #whole30
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