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Leafy Greens Pesto (3 Ways)

Got extra greens? Make some Leafy Greens Pesto! Here are 3 recipes for carrot top, spinach, and watercress pesto (all in under 5 minutes!)

Got extra greens? Make some Leafy Greens Pesto! Here are 3 recipes for carrot top, spinach, and watercress pesto (all in under 5 minutes!)

Despite my love/hate relationship with pesto, it’s my go-to sauce for just about everything (though Romesco is climbing in ranks lately). But with my baby plant garden finally thriving, I can’t quite bring myself to completely eradicate the basil in the name of pesto (anyone else emotionally vested in their plant babies? just me?)

So I set out to create a formula for pesto without basil, but with leafy greens! You can use virtually any leafy green you have on hand, but today I’m showing you how to make it with three: watercress (our spotlight ingredient), spinach, and carrot tops.

Got extra greens? Make some Leafy Greens Pesto! Here are 3 recipes for carrot top, spinach, and watercress pesto (all in under 5 minutes!)

Ingredients to make pesto without basil:

  • 2 cups leafy greens
  • 1/4 cup nuts (use the Vegetarian Flavor Bible for ideas on which nuts pair well with your leafy greens)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Got extra greens? Make some Leafy Greens Pesto! Here are 3 recipes for carrot top, spinach, and watercress pesto (all in under 5 minutes!)

To make pesto with spinach, we’ll use almonds. To make pesto out of carrot top greens, use pine nuts. Finally, use walnuts if you’re making pesto with watercress!

Got extra greens? Make some Leafy Greens Pesto! Here are 3 recipes for carrot top, spinach, and watercress pesto (all in under 5 minutes!)

You’d think these would lack flavor because they miss the basil, but they are actually so great. Like, so great. You can add a few leaves of basil if you really want a punch of flavor, but they hold their own quite well without it. So without further ado, basil-less recipes!

Got extra greens? Make some Leafy Greens Pesto! Here are 3 recipes for carrot top, spinach, and watercress pesto (all in under 5 minutes!)

PS: If you love pesto, you’ll also want to try this avocado pesto or this classic pesto!

Got extra greens? Make some Leafy Greens Pesto! Here are 3 recipes for carrot top, spinach, and watercress pesto (all in under 5 minutes!)

Leafy Greens Pesto

Did you know you can make pesto out of virtually ANY leafy green? I’m showing you how to make pesto with carrot tops, watercress, and spinach!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizers, Dips, Sauces, and Salsas, Pastas
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: carrot greens pesto, carrot top pesto, leafy greens pesto, pesto without basil, spinach pesto
Diet: Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Vegetarian
Occasion: 4th of July, Game Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day
Time: 15 minutes or less, 30 minutes or less, 45 minutes or less
Prep: 5 mins
Total: 5 mins
Servings: 1 cup of each
Calories: 80kcal
Author: Sarah Bond
5 from 2 votes

INGREDIENTS

Carrot Top Pesto
  • 2 cups carrot top leaves 60 g
  • 1/4 cup pinenuts 35 g
Watercress Pesto
  • 2 cups watercress 60 g
  • 1/4 cup walnuts 35 g
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice 15 mL
Spinach Pesto
  • 2 cups spinach 60 g
  • 1/4 cup almonds 35 g
For all of the pestos
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan 50 g
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 118 mL

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Blitz: Choose which type of pesto you'd like to make. Add all the ingredients listed under it to a food processor, along with parmesan, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pulse until leaves are broken down.
  • Oil: Scrape down the sides of the food processor and put the lid back on. With the food processor running, slowly pour in olive oil until full incorporated.

NUTRITION

Serving: 1Tbsp | Calories: 80kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 21mg | Vitamin A: 150IU | Vitamin C: 4.1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 0.2mg
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Hi, I’m Sarah!

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Comments (3)

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  1. Namita says:

    Made the Spinach pesto and it was delicious!!! Added it to a barley risotto. Will be trying it with gnocchi next 🙂5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear, Namita! Makes you wonder why you ever needed basil in the first place, right? 😀

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