This delicious carrot top pesto tortellini salad helps you reduce waste in your kitchen by using up any veggies or scraps (like carrot tops) you may have hanging around in the fridge! (vegetarian)
This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is all about reducing kitchen waste, which I’m so excited about! Making sure I use up as much of the edible food in my house as possible and reducing the amount of food that gets thrown away is important to me, and it’s not hard to do with a little planning!
Last year around this time, I showed you how to make homemade bone broth in the slow cooker using kitchen scraps, and it’s still something I do at least once a month – I haven’t bought broth at the store in over a year! This carrot top pesto tortellini salad is another way to use up kitchen scraps that many people don’t think of using sometimes.
The pesto in this recipe uses the green tops of my carrots (sometimes I add a little kale or other greenery I have in the fridge) so that I still get plenty of delicious pesto flavor, but I don’t waste anything. (I also freeze the remaining tops to go into stock.) You can also make more than one batch and freeze it in ice cube molds for later! I also do this with my basil plant at the end of the summer so that all those yummy basil leaves don’t just die after growing all season.
This carrot top pesto tortellini salad is so delicious, and you’d never know it’s not normal pesto. It makes a great side dish to go with grilled chicken or fish, and it’s also perfect leftover for lunch! Speaking of leftovers, here are a few more tips to make sure you are minimizing food waste in your kitchen:
- Use your leftovers! Don’t let them rot in the refrigerator. If you don’t want them as they are, repurpose them into something else, like a soup, sandwich or casserole.
- Plan your meals around the produce you need to use. When I’m planning my meals for the week, I take a peek in my veggie drawer to see which ones need to be used before I go out and buy more veggies. Fruit that needs to be used almost always goes in my breakfast.
- Try not to over-buy. This one is probably my weakest point. I’m a huge sucker for beautiful produce, especially when it is a good deal, so I have to try to remind myself that I don’t need any more spinach right now, because I already have arugula and kale that needs to be used!
- If you can’t use it, freeze it! Freeze fresh fruit for smoothies and freeze cut-up veggies for soups. Pureed fruit and veggie blends can also be frozen in ice cube molds for smoothies. The freezer is also useful when you make a big batch of soup or pasta sauce and can’t eat the same leftovers any longer. You’ll have a meal ready to pull out and heat up on busy evenings. Just don’t forget about everything in there!
Carrot Top Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad
This delicious carrot top pesto tortellini salad helps you reduce waste in your kitchen by using up any veggies or scraps (like carrot tops) you may have hanging around in the fridge!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: about 8 cups
- Category: side dish
For Carrot Top Pesto:
- 3/4 cup carrot top greens
- 1/4 cup basil leaves
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup-1/3 cup olive oil
For the Pasta Salad:
- 8 oz fresh whole wheat tortellini
- 3-4 small carrots, sliced into coins
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
- To make the pesto, combine all ingredients except for olive oil in a food processor or high-powered blender such as a Vitamix. Slowly drizzle in olive oil as you blend until your desired consistency is reached. I like to use a little less oil for a thicker consistency.
- To make the pasta salad, cook tortellini according to package directions. Add carrot coins in the last few minutes of boiling so that they are just slightly tender. Drain, rinse with cold water and let cool to room temperature. Stir in bell pepper, spinach, cherry tomatoes and pesto.
- Refrigerate covered until you are ready to serve.
Time includes chill time.