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Celery Top Pesto – Waste Not, Want Not

We’ve been on holidays for a couple of months, travelling far and wide. I’ve eaten some wonderful meals and tried lots of new dishes but I didn’t do any cooking. Gosh, how I’ve missed it. So now that we’re back home, it’s time to get back into the kitchen. It’s also time to pull our horns in and cap our spending for a while. This means preparing fresh meals and eating at home to make up for all that eating out and stretching the ingredients just a little bit further.

dish of celery top pesto

Is Their a Point to Celery?
Our house sitter did a great job of stocking the fridge for our return. One of the things he bought was the biggest bunch of celery I’ve seen in a long time. He laughingly said he liked to occasionally buy something to keep the worms happy. Meaning, he buys celery and then does nothing to it. There’s a whole world on the internet who believe celery to be the ‘most useless vegetable ever’. My views aren’t as extreme but I do know that a little celery seems to go a long way. I’d done a pretty good job of working my way through the bunch but didn’t want to waste any of it. I had heard of carrot top pesto but given my general aversion to carrots, was unlikely to be making it any time soon. Celery Top Pesto though, was worth a go.

The taste of Celery Top Pesto is savoury and herbaceous rather than the typical peppery flavour that celery tops often have. The oil, nuts and cheese smooth out any bitterness. I used Brazil nuts for their mild taste and creamy texture but cashews or macadamias would also be suitable. Similarly, use a mild or neutral tasting olive oil so it doesn’t overpower the flavour of the mild celery tops. Celery Top Pesto can be used as a dip, spread on a pizza base or added as a topping for to soup. Try it spread on crusty bread, sprinkled with a little extra Parmesan and then grilled.

Celery Top Pesto

celery tops and celery leaves dish of celery top pesto and crackers


  • Celery tops (leaves) of 1 large head of celery (approx two medium packed cups)
  • 30g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 30g Brazil nuts, roughly chopped
  • 4 x tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to season


  • Place all ingredients except the salt in a jug and blend using a stick blender until a smooth paste forms. You are looking for a spreadable consistency.
  • Loosen with a little extra olive oil if the paste it too thick for your needs.
  • The inclusion of the salty Parmesan may mean the Celery Top Pesto does not require any further seasoning. Test the flavour and then add a small amount of salt if required.
  • Store in the fridge a bowl with plastic wrap pressed onto surface of pesto to prevent oxidation. Use within a week.
  • Serving suggestions above or, swirl it through pasta.

Makes approx 1 cup

cracker spread with celery top pesto
11 comments… add one
  • Lyn Riddett May 24, 2017, 8:09 am

    I really like celery! Sometimes use the tops instead of parsley in stews, on top of a simple fried rice, etc… This is a great recipe – thank you.

    • Fiona Ryan May 27, 2017, 10:32 am

      I don’t mind celery either but it was such an enormous bunch! I normally save the scraps for stock but using them on top of fried rice is a great idea too.

  • Richard Graveur May 24, 2017, 9:15 am

    Wouldn’t mind making this,celery often seems to be a waste of frig space

    • Fiona Ryan May 27, 2017, 10:33 am

      And let me tell you that this bunch was enormous! You used to be able to buy a few stalks but it doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

  • sherry from sherrys pickings May 24, 2017, 12:11 pm

    i like to chop up the leaves to add like a herb to stews or soups. this pesto looks amazing! good to see inventiveness in the kitchen.:) very clever.

    • Fiona Ryan May 27, 2017, 10:35 am

      Thanks Sherry. With only two for us, it’s rare I would buy a whole celery unless I have a specific plan for it. But, if I have it, I like to use every part.

  • Jen Cheffers May 27, 2017, 10:25 am

    Thanks, Fiona. If I don’t use them in stock I often just end up chucking out the tops … it’s great to have another idea to use them up!

    • Fiona Ryan May 27, 2017, 10:40 am

      Happy to oblige Jen. You can tweak it however you like too. Different oils, nuts and spices to change how it tastes.

  • shaheen June 8, 2017, 9:31 pm

    I rarely find celery in the UK with its leafage, but this is a fantastic recipe for when I do. Have you tried lovage? its quite a powerful herb and looks like celery leaf, but completely different in flavour, so seek it out

  • jo August 27, 2017, 2:18 pm

    Great recipe for Celery Pesto. When I have a lot of Celery that won’t be used up in a few days ,I chop it all up ( leaves and all) and dehydrate it in my Dehydrater .When its dried. I blitz it and make it into celery powder.The flavour is intensified,and a little goes a long way. Such a useful seasoning for lots of dishes. Plus it means nothing is wasted . 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan January 27, 2018, 3:20 pm

      Hi Jo – I have yet to land on a dehydrator that can do what I need but is in my price point. I did have one but it was a cheapie and didn’t do the job. Great idea re: celery powder. A head of celery is A LOT of celery so other ideas are always welcome!

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