Roasted Ras El Hanout Carrots with Carrot-Top Pesto

Dinner, Sides

Roasted Ras El Hanout Carrots with Carrot-Top Pesto //

Oreo decided to be super nice and send me their two new soon-to-be-released cookies: Cookie Dough and Marshmallow Crispy. So of course I ate like 10 in one sitting and felt sick and terrible about myself. I contemplated not eating for the rest of the day just to make up for it, but quickly admitted to myself that I could never do that. I’m not a girl who goes on cleanses. They’ve never worked out for me. Instead I just eat some carrots.

Last year Josh whipped me up a snack of roasted carrots, whipped goat cheese and carrot-top pesto. I remember having my mind blown a little bit. Up until that point I don’t think I had eaten the tops of the carrot before; I’m pretty sure I usually just threw those things away with absolutely no remorse. But why? I used beet greens in stuff before, why not the tops of carrots?

Roasted Ras El Hanout Carrots with Carrot-Top Pesto //

I love cooking efficiently. There’s a lot of pride in using every part of something and throwing away nothing. It feels good to not be wasteful.

And the big bonus is that carrot-tops actually taste good! They taste like most leafy things, just slightly more sweet.

Roasted Ras El Hanout Carrots with Carrot-Top Pesto //

These carrots are rubbed in olive oil, a little salt and the spice, ras el hanout. If you’ve never heard of ras el hanout, don’t worry, you should be able to find it in your local grocery store in the spice aisle. It’s popular in North Africa and is usually a mix of ground cumin, coriander, cardamom, cloves, ground chile powder, fenugreek, peppercorn, paprika and turmeric. Of course, if you didn’t want to buy it, you could sort of make your own by mixing those spices together, but that would mean you would need ALL of those spices and, well, I think it’s just easier to spend $4 on the dang jar of ras el hanout. OR, if you were being lazy and wanted to save money, you could just skip it.

Roasted Ras El Hanout Carrots with Carrot-Top Pesto //

I remember when I was in college, trying to cook an Italian wedding soup where there were like a million ingredients and at least like 5 spices I didn’t have. I left the store spending $50 dollars and was like why?!?! I could’ve eaten at a restaurant for less.

Simple cooking with minimal ingredients is so nice sometimes.

The pesto is very flexible. I added a bit of pistachios because that’s what I had in my pantry but you could easily swap in walnuts, pecans or pine nuts.

The meyer lemon could be replaced with a red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar, if you like. But the Parmesan (or its cheaper counter part, Grana Padano) must stay in. That’s a must.

This is probably more of a side dish than it is actual dinner but I tell you what, I ate this with a spelt berries and sautéed kale and was good to go. It was a light and easy dinz.

Roasted Ras El Hanout Carrots with Carrot-Top Pesto //

Roasted Ras El Hanout Carrots with Carrot-Top Pesto

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  • 1 pound carrots, with tops attached
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallot, about 1/2 shallot
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 12 pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon meyer lemon juice
  • 5-6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ras el hanout
  • Pinch sea salt


  • To prep the carrots, you'll want to lightly peel the outer skin (or leave it if you like - some people prefer carrots with the skin on) and trim the tops, leaving a bit of stem attached and visible (I tend to think carrots look prettier this way). Take the carrot-tops and give them a quick rinse under some water, followed by patting them dry with a clean kitchen towel. Remove as many leaves off of the stems as possible (some stem is ok). You should end up with about 1 cup of carrot top.
  • To the bowl of a food processor or jar of a blender, add the garlic clove, shallot and pistachios; pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse paste. Add the carrot tops, Parmesan, juice from 1/2 Meyer lemon; and pulse a few more times. Pour in the olive oil, pulsing until the pesto comes together. Salt to taste (I added about 1/4 teaspoon). Transfer to a small bowl until you're ready to use.
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. To a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, ras el hanout and sea salt. Toss the carrots in the oil/spice mixture until evenly coated. Place the carrots side by side on the parchment-lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to roast for 25-30 minutes, and until the carrots are lightly golden brown and tender.
  • Transfer the carrots to a large plate and drizzle with the pesto. Serve immediately.
Serving: 4g
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Recipe Rating

  • Reply Marry October 4, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    What a good and tasty idea to use carrot tops. Found the Ras el hamout easily. I will be making these again. Thank you.

  • Reply Bev @ Bev Cooks February 3, 2014 at 6:22 am

    Oh my GAWWWWWWD my mouth hurts from wanting this so bad.

  • Reply Elisa @ Insalata di Sillabe January 29, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Baked chicken wings?! Super duper yes! I’ve never been a big fun of fried food, but it’s always hard to achieve the same crispness and crunchiness of the fried stuff, so Josh’s tips couldn’t be more helpful!

    xo, Elisa

  • Reply Stephanie January 27, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    This is genius!!! I saw carrots with the most beautiful greens at the store the other day, but left them because the ones without greens were cheaper and I couldn’t think of what to do with them.

  • Reply Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) January 27, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I’ve always heard that carrot tops are the best!! But never would have thought of making a pesto with them–mine usually aren’t quite as pretty or in good shape as yours when I buy them at the store 😉

    So gorgeous!! Love this so much.

  • Reply Laura (Tutti Dolci) January 27, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    I love carrots, so smart of you to use them from head to tail ;).

  • Reply Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps January 27, 2014 at 11:49 am

    So inventive and purdy! Love the use of the whole carrot, that is not something I would have thought of in a million trillion years.

  • Reply sandra January 27, 2014 at 10:33 am

    I recently watched Haute Cuisine, a bio-pic about the personal chef to Mitterrand, and she served him carrot top salad! And I thought, what a great idea, why don’t we use the tops. And here you are using them! Wonderful!

  • Reply RLT January 27, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Carrot pesto! whoda thunk? What other kinds of greens are you making into pesto? (feeling very wasteful thinking back to my fall harvest of carrots)

  • Reply Eileen January 27, 2014 at 10:20 am

    These carrots sound amazing! I would never have thought to use the greens in a pesto–super interesting. 🙂

  • Reply dishing up the dirt January 27, 2014 at 8:45 am

    We make a LOT of carrot top pesto and freeze it. We have a small farm and we usually sell some of the pesto jars to our customers too. So good. Love this recipe.

  • Reply Abby @ The Frosted Vegan January 27, 2014 at 5:21 am

    Ohh yeah, I loveee the look of that carrot top pesto! Also, I would have inhaled all those cookies, so no judging happening here.

  • Reply Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar January 27, 2014 at 4:18 am

    Loving the look of that pesto!! Yum!!

  • Reply Belinda@themoonblushbaker January 27, 2014 at 1:42 am

    Aww damn I have been wanting to try them too! Too bad I live in Australia…boo

    I could use a good healthy carrot recipe; they are so under estimated as the star of the meal

  • Reply Averie @ Averie Cooks January 27, 2014 at 12:12 am

    So pretty! I love the colors! Pinned 🙂 Have a great week!

    I got those cookies too. I haven’t cracked the seal. Yet 🙂