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Veg top pesto

Veg top pesto


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Struggling to find a use for peppery radish greens once you’ve finished dunking the jewel-bright vegetables into fancy butters or dips? Or how about that long swishy green tail of fronds on the end of market-bought carrots, or turnips, or beetroot tops, or celery leaves, or… well, you get the picture. This fit-all pesto is a fantastic way to get the best out of your veg tops.


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  • 50g of pine nuts, these are traditional, but if preferred you can use hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, or any other nuts you find lurking in the kitchen cupboards
  • 80g of vegetable tops, you can use all of one, a mixture of some, or add in some soft herbs (like basil or parsley) if you don’t have quite enough
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 30g of Parmesan, grated (use a similar cheese using vegetable rennet if serving to vegetarians)
  • extra virgin olive oil, you'll need 5–7 tbsp depending on the veg tops used
  • salt
  • pepper
  • lemon juice
  • 1 pinch of sugar
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Very lightly toast the nuts – you don’t want them to go too dark, or the pesto won’t be creamy
Blitz all the ingredients together in a food processor and taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary. Alternatively, you can pound everything into a rough paste in a pestle and mortar
I always like to add a generous spritz of lemon to liven up my pesto and have found a small pinch of sugar nicely rounds out the slight bitterness found in some veg tops, but this is personal taste territory, so taste before adding
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