Healthy Thanksgiving Sides: Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto

carrots w carrot pesto


Now that we’ve gotten Thanksgiving dessert squared away with the delicious vegan pumpkin pie from last week, it’s time to think about side dishes (I’ll leave the turkey or turkey-equivalent to you).  I love roasting vegetables for their simplicity, intensity of flavor and natural sweetness.  I came upon this recipe in Bon Appétit a while back that takes humble roasted carrots and brings them to a higher plane.  This recipe uses the whole carrot, from greens-to-root, and brings out a freshness that wouldn’t be possible without the carrot tops.  The carrot tops are blended with basil, pine or macadamia nuts and parmesan for a bright pesto that enhances the flavor of the roasted carrots.  For an easy vegan substitute, leave out the parmesan and substitute and equivalent amount of Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast or simply leave it out.

Hope this makes it to your Thanksgiving table!  

Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto 

Recipe from Ed Kenney of Town in Oahu HI, from Bon Appétit


3 pounds small carrots with tops (any color)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons macadamia nuts or pine nuts
1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


1.  Preheat oven to 400°.

2.  Trim carrot tops, leaving some stem attached. Measure out 2 cups carrot tops and set aside; reserve any remaining carrot tops for another use.

3.  Toss carrots and vegetable oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until carrots are golden brown and tender, 25–35 minutes. Let cool.

4.  Pulse garlic and nuts in a food processor until a coarse paste forms. Add basil, Parmesan, and reserved carrot tops; process until a coarse purée forms. Add olive oil and pulse until combined; season with salt and pepper. Serve carrots with pesto.
DO AHEAD: Pesto can be made 1 day ahead. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface; chill. Carrots can be roasted 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

8 servings, 1 serving equals: Calories (kcal) 270 Fat (g) 21 Saturated Fat (g) 3.5 Cholesterol (mg) 5 Carbohydrates (g) 18 Dietary Fiber (g) 5 Total Sugars (g) 11 Protein (g) 4 Sodium (mg) 210

Thanks for coming by.  What are your favorite Thanksgiving sides?

Come back next week for more in my series of Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes!