Dishing Up the Dirt

Grilled Carrot Salad with Carrot Top Pesto

This tasty salad was the recipe of the week for our CSA members. We are currently harvesting hundreds of pounds of carrots at the farm and they are sweet, tender and delicious. We were lucky enough to begin our day in the carrot patch just as the sun was rising and casting lovely rays of light over our crops. Early morning harvests on CSA delivery day can be super stressful however, there are rare moments that are absolutely perfect when the air is crisp, the chickens are quietly clucking from their coop and we feel like the only two people in the world witnessing the simple beauty of an early morning on the farm. It’s quite magical.


We usually prefer eating our carrots straight out of the ground with a little dirt still on them, however, sometimes it’s great to jazz things up a bit starting with a nice rinse in the kitchen sink! Taylor and I both love roasted carrots but it’s been too damn hot to turn the oven on. The grill has been our favorite method of cooking through this heat wave and we have fallen head over heels in love with grilled carrots. This salad is easy to prepare and a great way to use up carrot tops that usually go to waste. We enjoyed this simple dish with a zucchini basil soup (recipe coming soon!) and a glass of crisp white wine from our favorite local winery Analemma

I hope you all try this recipe soon! Head to your local farmers market and pick up some farm fresh carrots and whip this up. Cheers from Tumbleweed!

Grilled Carrot & Walnut Salad with Carrot Top Pesto

Prep Time: 15 minutes    Cook Time: 30 minutes    Serves: 2-4

  • 3/4 cup of quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1 bunch of carrots with greens, reserve 3/4 cup of greens for the pesto
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt + pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt + pepper to taste
  • finely minced carrot greens for garnish


  1. In a saucepan combine the quinoa with 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until the quinoa absorbs the liquid and can easily be fluffed with a fork. About 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat a grill to medium-high. Trim carrot tops leaving some stem attached. Toss the carrots with 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. If any of the carrots are extra large slice them in half lengthwise. Place the carrots directly on the grill and cook until lightly charred and tender. About 10-12 minutes. Flip the carrots once or twice while grilling.
  3. In a small dry skillet over medium-high heat lightly toast the walnuts for 2-4 minutes. Shake the pan a few times while toasting. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a food processor add the garlic and pine nuts. Pulse until finely chopped. Add about 3/4 cup of carrot greens, basil and parmesan cheese. With the motor running slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Toss the quinoa with half of the pesto. Divide among plates and top with a few grilled carrots, toasted walnuts, a dollop of more pesto and a healthy sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a few pinches of minced carrot greens. Serve with a glass of your favorite white wine and enjoy!


*Use this recipe as a guide *Adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary *Cooking times will vary depending on your specific ingredients and grill *Have fun in the kitchen and switch things up to suite your personal preference!

Leave a Reply

3 thoughts on “Grilled Carrot Salad with Carrot Top Pesto

  1. Sarah says:

    Yum! If you’ve got extra, I’ll take some for next Thursday’s meal service!

  2. Kim says:

    While I love all your recipes, this quinoa with carrot-top pesto is totally awesome. In fact, I have made these carrots several times. We love them so much that I double everything so to be sure there are leftovers! Thank you, Andrea!

  3. Tonya says:

    I love that you used carrot tops for a delicious purpose! I made a chimichurri out of them last week to put on a grilled tri-tip that was also really delicious. Cheers to using oft-discarded parts!

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