Caramelized Carrots and Shallots with Carrot Top Pesto
Roasting carrots and shallots at a super high temperature makes them sticky, sweet, and caramelized—in other words, delicious. Topping them with a pesto of cilantro, pumpkin seeds, and carrot tops (why waste all those beautiful greens?) makes them even better.
for the carrots:
2 medium bunches carrots, with the tops attached (we like to use multicolored organic ones, if you can find them)
8 medium shallots, peeled and quartered or halved, depending on the size (you want roughly 1x½-inch pieces)
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
for the pesto:
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
¼ cup carrot leaves, washed and dried
¼ cup cilantro leaves, washed and dried
½ small clove garlic, finely grated with a microplane
5 tablespoons olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
2. Scrub the carrots well (we don’t bother peeling them), and trim off the tops, leaving just a little bit of stem.
3. Cut any larger carrots in half lengthwise and leave the smaller ones whole (you want them all to be roughly the same size so they cook evenly).
4. Toss the carrots and shallots with the olive oil and a good amount of salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until caramelized and tender.
5. To make the pesto, heat a small sauté pan over medium heat and toast the pumpkin seeds until they’re fragrant and starting to brown (about 2 to 3 minutes). Cool.
6. Combine cooled pumpkin seeds, carrot leaves, cilantro, garlic, and olive oil in a blender. Blitz until almost smooth (we like to keep just a little bit of texture) then season with salt to taste.
7. Transfer the cooked carrots and shallots to a platter and dollop over the carrot top pesto.
Originally featured in A Holiday Meal, Three Ways: Allergen-Free, Kid-Friendly, and Dinner for Two