Roasted Carrots with Manchego Carrot-Top Pesto and Sherry-Orange Vinaigrette

DSC_0543One of our family’s favorite children’s books is “Tops and Bottoms” by Janet Stevens. In it, a wily rabbit farms a bear’s land while the lazy bear sleeps the day away. Their deal is to split the harvest, each of them either getting the “tops” or the “bottoms” of each plant. You can just imagine the shenanigans that ensue when the rabbit grows root vegetables in the seasons that he’s due the “bottoms.”

But if that bear were clever, he’d realize that he’s not totally down and out when he receives the carrot tops. And if your carrots come with their beautiful feathery green tops attached, be sure to recognize your bounty.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Intensity: Medium
Special equipment needed: Food processorDSC_0494



Roasted Carrots:

  • About 8 carrots, stems and tops removed and set aside
  • 2 large shallots, thickly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt


Sherry-Orange Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar*
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 orange, juiced (about 1/4 cup juice)


Manchego Carrot-Top Pesto**DSC_0538

  • Tops of about 8 carrots (stems removed)
  • 1 stalk rosemary, leaves stripped of stem and chopped***
  • 1 c. shredded Manchego cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt



  1. Preheat the oven to 400º.
  2. Thickly slice the carrots on a diagonal. Make thinner cuts for the carrots largest in diameter, and vice versa to help them cook evenly.
  3. Add carrots and shallots to a roasting pan and drizzle with oil and salt.
  4. Roast uncovered for about 20 minutes.
  5. While carrots are roasting, prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together all of the ingredients.
  6. After the carrots have roasted, pour the vinaigrette over the top and toss.
  7. Return the carrots to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or just until largest carrots are tender.
  8. While the carrots finish roasting, prepare the pesto.
  9. Add all pesto ingredients to a food processor and blend until thick and well combined.
  10. Once carrots are tender, remove them from the oven and serve alongside the pesto.

Serves 4DSC_0549

Recipe notes:

*I prefer sherry vinegar for this recipe, but you can substitute another vinegar like balsamic.

**This is a very thick pesto, which makes a nice presentation with the carrots. If you prefer a looser pesto that you can drizzle over the carrots, continue adding oil until you achieve your desired consistency. (Just note that this will also dilute the flavor).

***Be sure not to get any of the rosemary stem in the mixture, as that will make the pesto reedy.

Roasted Carrots with Carrot-Top Pesto