Dishing Up the Dirt

carrot top pesto quinoa salad with roasted carrots

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I turned 30-years-old this weekend. And while most times I feel like I am trapped in a 90-year-olds body (physical labor will do that to a girl) I must admit that I feel great!

My lovely husband woke me up early and surprised me by cooking a 4 course farm to table breakfast. Soon there after my brother and his girlfriend showed up from Montana. We skipped working at the farm (our first day not doing an ounce of farm work since February) headed to Portland, I got a 90 minute massage and my mom cooked a farm to table dinner for my family and friends. It was absolutely perfect. I feel younger and more refreshed than I ever did when I was 29 (that may be the massage speaking!)


In celebration of turning 30 and feeling great I made us all a lovely dinner. If you frequent your local farmers market or grow your own carrots, you may be wondering what the heck to do with all those carrot greens. I got you covered…make pesto!


If you can’t find carrot tops anywhere you can still make this dish using your favorite pesto recipe. I used a combination of carrot greens and basil, however, you can use any green pesto recipe you have.

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Grab a bunch of carrot greens, pour some wine and enjoy the first meal of September. Bon appetit.


Carrot Top Pesto Quinoa Salad with Roasted Carrots

Prep Time: 10 mis    Cook Time: 30 mins.    Serves: 4

  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh carrots with tops
  • 2 TBS high heat cooking oil (I used grapeseed oil)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • walnuts and parmesan cheese for garnish
  • For the Pesto:
  • Carrot tops, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup fresh basil, tough stems removed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Peheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim carrot tops leaving some stem attached. Measure out roughly 1 cup of carrot greens and set aside.
  2. Toss carrots with 2 TBS grapeseed oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until lightly browned and tender, about 25-30 minutes. Toss carrots once halfway through cooking time.
  3. Cook quinoa according to your specific brands instructions.
  4. Place all ingredients for the pesto in a food processor or high speed blender. Blend until smooth. Add more oil if needed. Taste test and set aside.
  5. Toss pesto with quinoa and avocado. Add roasted carrots and garnish each plate with walnuts and grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!


Use this recipe as a guide. Adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary. Always taste test as you go.

Leave a Reply

11 thoughts on “carrot top pesto quinoa salad with roasted carrots

  1. mary ann says:

    Happy 30th!! Glad you had such a fun day and celebrated in style!

  2. Happy Birthday, Andrea! It sounds like it was a fantastic day! You deserve it 🙂

  3. I’m happy to hear you had a great birthday! That was so thoughtful of your husband and lord knows you deserved a massage. Seriously, you look amazing for your age!
    I would have never thought to make pesto from carrot tops but I love the idea. I hate wasting food!

  4. Joanne says:

    Happy birthday!! Although I must say you look nowhere NEAR thirty! This is definitely a meal fit for a birthday!

  5. I”m not sure I even knew the carrot tops were edible, so pesto is such a great idea to try them in! Happy belated birthday too – it sounds like you had a wonderful weekend of celebrations and I’m so glad to hear you took the day off!

  6. Happy belated birthday!! I love that you can make pesto out of absolutely anything. Using carrot greens is genius!

    1. Andrea says:

      This dish was a winner!

  7. Manasa says:

    This is the best dinner i have had in a while. You are pure genius at making pestos

  8. Kim says:

    I made this salad for tonight’s dinner… I’m obsessed! The pesto is amazing by itself, but it’s irresistible with the quinoa, carrots, parm. cheese and nuts!!. Can’t wait to get my hands on some more carrot tops. Thanks!

    1. Andrea says:

      So happy you enjoyed this as much as we do! Thanks for the lovely comment.

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