Pasta with Zero Waste Pesto and Vegetarian Caramelized Turnip “Pancetta”

October 01, 2021

Celebrate your bountiful harvest with a delicious dinner you can feel good about. Why not put your extra greens and stems to good use by turning them into your new favorite pesto? With a few simple pantry items, you can turn Local Roots Scarlet Queen Turnips into a crispy and decadent vegetarian pancetta and extra carrot tops into pesto, creating this easy, delicious weeknight dinner.

Serves: 2


Caramelized Turnips:

1 heaping cup of turnips (2 medium turnips)

2 tablespoons Local Roots butter

½ cup water

2 tablespoons sugar

salt and pepper

Zero Waste Pesto:

1 cup of chopped basil

1 clove of garlic

¾ cup of olive oil

¼ cup slivered almonds

¼ cup of kale and turnip stems

½ cup of chopped turnip greens or carrot tops

½  cup of chopped kale (small bundle)

¼ cup of parmigiano reggiano

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon of lemon juice (½  lemon)


4 oz of bucatini ( also looks great with Sfoglini beet fusili)

Caramelized turnips

  1. Prepare turnips by scrubbing and rinsing them. Remove and rinse greens, setting aside for pesto.
  2. Dice turnips into ¼ inch cubes and put a medium sized saucepan on the stove.
  3. Set your stove to medium-high heat and melt butter. Then add turnips, salt, sugar, and water. Stir until dissolved.
  4. On medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes. This allows the bitterness to evaporate, leaving you with a sweeter and nuttier taste.
  5. Every few minutes, stir and add a pinch of salt to the turnips. This enhances both the flavor and caramelization process. If the turnips dry out, add a few tablespoons of water and butter.
  6. Reduce to a medium heat and let cook for another 10 minutes or until liquid reduces to the consistency of caramel.
  7. Once golden and crispy, remove and let cool on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil.


  1. To a food processor, add walnuts and garlic. Pulverize until mixture resembles coarse sand.
  1. Add turnip greens, kale, basil, and cheese. Blend for 30 seconds.
  2. With the motor running, slowly drizzle olive oil into the food processor and blend until smooth.

Tip: Store leftover pesto in a container topped with a ¼ inch of olive oil and a lid. This lets your pesto last up to 5 days in the fridge and prevents browning.


  1. Cook pasta until al dente, saving ¼ cup of water. Mix pasta, remaining water, and 2-4 tablespoons of pesto.
  2. Divide between two bowls. Garnish with optional basil, cheese, nuts, and enjoy!

This recipe was created by Molly Alexander @veganish.molly

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