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7 April 2016

Carrot Top Pesto with Vegetable Noodles


I had a rush of inspiration/adrenaline/hope/love for life this morning; I just felt alive and in awe of all of the possibilities, I wanted to do everything at once and could feel the excitement running through my veins, it was an amazing feeling and made me feel so grateful for everything and everyone I have in my life. I just wanted to do all the things I promised myself I would try. Being at uni it's all too easy to get into the mind-frame that you have to wait to graduate to get on with your life, but from today that thought has left my mind, life is not about the future, life is about now, and as long as we all remember that, we can all succeed.


Since late September I've been ordering veg boxes from a local farm, every-week I get carrots and every-week since then I've said to myself how I'm going to do something with the carrot tops. But until now I still haven't made use of them and whilst searching the internet and my cook books for some inspiration for this weeks' menu it occurred to me that I still hadn’t fulfilled that promise to myself. I already eat the leaves from my purple sprouting broccoli but this week I think I'm also going to eat the outer leaves from my cauliflower which looks quite similar to cabbage, does anyone have suggestions for recipes using cauliflower leaves?




This recipe is one that uses a usually over-looked part of the carrot to make the most beautiful tasting pesto, and I like to think of it like a metaphor for all the little things that we over-look in life; that might actually be the most beautiful parts. I blended the carrot tops with toasted walnuts, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, basil, vegan parmesan and a squeeze of lemon juice; it has a fantastic, delicate flavour that is just delicious paired with the slighly sweet carrot and sweet potato and more savoury courgette. It can be served as a side with other dishes or as a main, either way it is just divine!



I then served it up with some steamed sweet potato, carrot and zucchini 'noodles', for a change from the normal pasta or spaghetti. There is nothing wrong with portioned wholegrain spaghetti; wholegrains have been shown to have protective properties against heart disease and contain fibre, protein and some other nutrients too; but it's always good to get more veg in our diet, plus it tastes amazing! I used a vegetable peeler for this; I did want to use my new spiralizer for this recipe, but we had a slight disagreement and it didn't work for the carrots, so unless you have a great spiralizer, a vegetable peeler and a bit of time are you best friend on this one!


Carrot Top Pesto with Vegetable Noodles | Serves: 2 | Time: 30 minutes

You'll need

  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Food processor
  • Spiralizer (optional)
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Small frying pan
  • Saucepan + steamer basket
  • Measuring cups + spoons
  • Sterilized storing jar

Ingredients

Pesto:
  • 1.5 cups loosely packed carrot tops
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed basil
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 25g vegan parmesan, grated (I used violife prosociano)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch salt & pepper
Veg:
  • 4-6 small carrots
  • 1 medium sized sweet potato
  • 1 medium sized zucchini

Method

  1. Spiralize the veg or thinly slice with a vegetable peeler, then steam  for 2-3 minutes until warm and tender. 
  2. To make the pesto, toast the nuts in a dry frying pan, until they look toasted but not burned. Then add to the food processor with the carrot tops, garlic, lemon juice and a glug of oil. Blitz until smooth, then add the basil and parmesan, salt and pepper and blitz again until just blended, add more oil as you go along if needed. Then serve up on top of the vegetable noodles, pour the rest of the pesto into a small sterilized jar, cover with 1/2  cm of oil and store in the fridge for 2-3 days and enjoy!
Cassidy xx

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