Dairy Free Carrot Top Pesto

By Sally Cameron on September 19, 2016

Paleo, Sauces and Condiments, the daniel plan, Vegan

Carrot top pesto made with fluffy green carrot tops. For years they ended up in the trash, but not anymore. Instead of tossing them, try this carrot top pesto. It’s satisfying to put something to use that used to get wasted. Its thrifty, healthy, tasty and smart way to use carrot tops.

carrot top pesto|AFoodCentricLife.com

How to Make Carrot Top Pesto

When the checker asked if I wanted my carrot tops I said no. I gave them to the woman behind me in the checkout line for her horses. Then I thought, if horses like them, what about us? I put a few leaves in my mouth. The flavor was a little peppery, fresh tasting and herby. But what could I do with them?

carrot top pesto | AFoodCentricLife.com

carrot top pesto | AFoodCentricLife.com

Fresh, soft, leafy herbs are a natural ingredient for making pesto. Into the food processor went carrot tops, garlic cloves, a little fresh basil, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and pistachios. Next, puree into a creamy pesto and enjoy in a multitude of ways. One thing missing? Parmesan.

No Parmesan cheese? Nope. While traditional pesto recipes contain Parmesan cheese, this pesto is dairy-free and vegan. Vegan, vegetarian and dairy-sensitive eaters rejoice! You won’t miss the Parmesan.

carrot top pesto | AFoodCentricLife.com

Parmesan Substitute: Dairy-Free Cheesy Sprinkle

While cooking for a client who is dairy-sensitive, I created a delicious, dairy-free cheesy sprinkle that tastes much like Parmesan. It has a savory, umami kind of taste that works well in many things as a Parmesan replacement.

Dairy-free cheesy sprinkle is a mix of raw ground cashews, nutritional yeast, granulated garlic and sea salt. A batch takes a minute to make and holds in the fridge for months.

Its so handy to have in the fridge for recipes like this pesto. Sprinkle it wherever you would use Parmesan. Try it on grilled or roasted vegetables, rice, salads, pasta, and popcorn. And be sure to try this carrot top pesto.

carrot top pesto | AFoodCentricLife.com

What is Nutritional Yeast?

While it might not sound very appetizing, nutritional yeast is very tasty. It has a savory, nutty, cheesy kind of taste similar to Parmesan.

At first glance, nutritional yeast looks a little strange. Sort of like the fish food flakes you used as a kid for your pet goldfish.

Nutritional yeast is an inactive form of the same yeast bakers use to make bread rise. It is pasteurized then dried into flakes or powder. The brand I use is made by Sari Foods. Buy it off Amazon. They don’t fortify their product with synthetic vitamins as many producers do.

I started using nutritional yeast when I was developing recipes for Dr. Mark Hyman’s book Eat Fat Get Thin. It’s what I used to create the recipe for No-Cheese Sauce. It’s delicious!

Find other recipes using nutritional yeast try the tomato zucchini casserole. What else to do with the pesto? Try it over roast carrots. That recipe will be out next.

 carrot top pesto | AFoodCentricLife.com

Dairy Free Carrot Top Pesto

A brilliant green pesto made with carrot tops, basil leaves, pistachios and a dairy-free cheesy sprinkle instead of Parmesan. Use with pasta, toss with grilled or stir-fried veggies, use a dollop to top chicken or thin with coconut or almond milk and use as pourable sauce. Lots of ways to use it.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 cup yield


  • 2 tablespoons dairy-free cheesy sprinkle
  • 1/2 cup packed washed, carrot top leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup raw shelled pistachios
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 a lemon juiced


  • If you don't have a batch of dairy-free cheesy sprinkle made, make that first. It takes a minute in a food processor.
  • Add all of the pesto ingredients to the work bowl of the food processor with the two tablespoons of the dairy-free cheesy sprinkle and process until as smooth as you desire.
  • Serve as you would any other pesto.


For the dairy-free cheesy sprinkle you will need: 1 cup (5 1/2 ounces) raw cashews, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Process in a food processor until fine, about 1 minute.


Serving: 8g

Leave a Comment