Healthy Recipe, Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto and Braised Celery

Here’s how to turn a couple of ingredients you may have assumed were destined for the compost bin into makings for an easy, flavor-packed feast. It starts with a bunch of carrots with their feathery green tops intact — the younger and more tender, the better. Rich in nutrients and earthy flavor, those tops can be whirled into a delicious pesto, as suggested by Tamar Adler in “The Everlasting Meal Cookbook.” Serves 4. RECIPE HERE – Susan Puckett Carrot Top Pesto:
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons pine nuts, chopped walnuts, cashews, almonds, or other nuts (toasted or untoasted)
½ teaspoon salt
About 2 packed cups carrot top greens, tough stems removed
1 packed cup parsley or spinach leaves
½ cup freshly grated freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil Roasted Carrots:
1 ½ pounds carrots, trimmed, scrubbed, and halved or quartered lengthwise depending on size (or left whole if small)
2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper Braised Celery:
1 bunch celery, with leaves
¼ cup water or broth (any kind)
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon each minced fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano; or ½ teaspoon each dried
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste To serve:
Cooked quinoa, rice, or grain of choice
Chopped celery leaves for garnish 1. Make the pesto: In a food processor, pulse the garlic, nuts, and ½ teaspoon salt to combine. Add the carrot tops, parsley or spinach, and cheese and pulse a few more times. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. With the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil and pulse until well blended. Scrape into a bowl and set aside. (Pesto may be made ahead and refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for several months.)
2. Roast the carrots: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the carrots on a large sheet pan, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss to coat, and spread in a single layer. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender and slightly caramelized, turning halfway through for even browning.
3. Braise the celery: Cut off the base of the celery, slice the bunch crosswise in 2-inch pieces, and spread out in a single layer in a wide pan with a lid. Add the water or broth, olive oil, herbs, and salt. Bring to a low boil, cover with a lid, reduce to a simmer, and cook until very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
4. To serve: Divide the roasted carrots among the plates and top with some of the pesto. Serve with a helping of the celery and grain of choice, and drizzle with some of the juices. Garnish with celery leaves. Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.

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