Creative Cooking With The Whole Carrot

May 13, 2022

A big portion of food waste produced at the household level is actually edible food! Food waste isn’t just the old pizza in the back of the fridge or the cheese that’s been left to rot, but the little pieces that get shaved off of the tops, bottoms, and sides of food during food prep! Most people just assume these bits and pieces are inedible foods and sweep them into the trash, but many times the ends and stems can be used to create something delicious and can add up to many pounds of food you’re keeping out of the trash.

Carrots are a common food item in many kitchens, and the prep almost always begins with chopping off the top and shaving the outside of the carrot. Try these recipes below to creatively use the parts you may have otherwise discarded, and tag us at @WeDontWaste on Facebook and Instagram so we can see your creations!

Carrot Top Pesto

Did you know the tops of carrots are edible? Not only that, they can make a delicious addition to a pesto and help reduce your waste at home. Mix it with pasta, serve it as a dip, add it to baked smashed potatoes, toss it with white beans, or go all-in with carrots and serve it as a spread over roasted baby carrots.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 Servings


  • 1 cup packed green carrot tops (rough stems removed)
  • 1 cup packed green baby spinach
  • 1 large clove garlic finely chopped
  • ½ cup roasted, unsalted cashews
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Rinse the carrot top greens to dislodge any dirt. Pick out and discard any dry, yellowed, or otherwise unappetizing looking leaves. Discard tough stems.
  • Place the carrot tops greens, baby spinach, chopped garlic, roasted cashews, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse several times. Scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula.
  • While the food processor is running, slowly pour in the olive oil in a steady stream. Scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula. Pulse until smooth.


Store the pesto in an airtight container in your fridge. It should last for up to week in the fridge, or up to 6 months in the freezer. 

What do you normally do when you have to clean a carrot? Scrub it with vegetable cleaning solution or shave off the outside? If you shave them, gather the shavings and keep them in a vegetable bag in the fridge. The shavings will keep between 2-3 weeks until you are ready to prep them for this awesome (and vitamin-packed) snack!

Sweet & Savory Carrot Chips

Carrot chips can make for the perfect potato chip substitute when you're craving something salty! The next time you have leftover carrots or shavings from a previous recipe, save them to create a delicious treat.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Snack
Servings 8


  • 2 lb carrot
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line several large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • If you've saved the carrot shavings from another recipe, skip this step. Otherwise, trim the carrot tops off and save them for your pesto. Starting on the thick end, slice the carrots paper-thin on the bias to create elongated slices.
  • Place the carrot slices in a large bowl and add the oil, salt, cumin, and cinnamon. Toss well to thoroughly coat. Then lay the slices in a single layer on the baking sheets.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges start to curl up and turn crisp. Then flip all the chips over and bake another 5-8 minutes to crisp the bottoms. Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.