Roasted Carrots with Kale Pepita Pesto | Naturally Ella

I’m learning that one of the greatest cooking challenges I’ve faced is one that feels like it shouldn’t be that hard: cooking for my family. My husband is not vegetarian and while my toddler will try almost anything, he’s still a toddler. I have this balance of working with everyone’s preferences to create a solid meal. At times it can be a bit overwhelming but books like Sarah Waldman’s beautiful new book help alleviate some of the stress. Feeding a Family is a book full of beautiful recipes that the whole family will enjoy. It’s not a vegetarian cookbook but it’s such a wonderful starting point for recipe and menu inspiration.

I’m sharing a variation on Sarah’s pumpkin seed pesto. I love trying different pesto varieties and I just happened to pick up fresh pepitas recently. I wrote the recipe as written from Sarah’s book but I actually used a variation involving kale (instructions in the notes of the recipe!) This greens pesto is the perfect addition to a vegetable/grain bowl! Plus, this multigrain pilaf base is a favorite of mine as of recent- the teff really brings everything together! Both the multigrain mixture and the pesto make for excellent additions to the component rotation!


Roasted Carrot Multi-Grain Pilaf with Pepita Pesto

  • Author: Erin Alderson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Cuisine: lunch


A beautiful, hearty grain bowl using a multi-grain mix of sorghum, millet, teff then paired with roasted carrots tossed with a pepita-kale pesto.


Multi-grain Mix:

  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 1/2 cup sorghum
  • 3 tablespoons teff


  • 1/2 pound carrots
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Pumpkin Seed Pesto (see note):

  • 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Pepitas, for garnish
  • Cilantro, for garnish


  • In a pot, bring water and vegetable broth to a boil with a pinch of salt and olive oil. Stir in sorghum, reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook for 30 minutes. Stir in teff and millet, cover, and continue cooking for another 20 to 30 minutes, until water has been mostly absorbed. Test the grains and if they are still crunchy, add ¼ cup of water and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes repeating until the grains are almost tender and still a bit of moisture left in the pot. Remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes
  • While the grains are cooking, roast the carrots and make the pesto. Heat oven to 425˚ F. Cut the carrots on the bias in 1/4″ slices. Place in a roasting pan and toss until well coated with olive oil and salt. Roast until tender and starting to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • To make the pesto, place everything in a food processor. Remove about 1/2 cup and save the rest of the pesto for another meal. You could also make just half the pesto recipe but I usually like to have extra pest on hand.
  • When carrots are done, remove from oven and toss with the 1/2 cup of pesto. Add to the grains and serve with a sprinkle of toasted pepitas and cilantro.


Tips & Tricks:  For the pepita recipe, I substituted kale that I blanched for about 60 seconds. This helped create a smoother, bright green sauce. However, the spinach in the original recipe would work just as well. Also, I only used part of the recipe so you could halve the recipe but leftovers are always a plus!

You could make this sauce ahead of time and assemble when ready to eat. 

Stock up: get the pantry ingredients you will need: pepitas, carrots, teff

Nutrition:  see the information.

Link:  The pepita pesto recipe is barely adapted from a recipe from Sarah Waldman’s Feeding a Family.


  • Calories: 587
  • Sugar: 4.4
  • Sodium: 569
  • Fat: 37.3
  • Carbohydrates: 53.3
  • Fiber: 8.7
  • Protein: 17.4
  • Cholesterol: 0

Step by Step

Carrot Multigrain Pilaf


Grain Mixture: I like the addition of teff because it adds a bit of stickiness to the overall pilaf but you could always replace it with another grain, like quinoa.

Pesto: I love this pesto from Sarah’s book but I don’t always have spinach. The pepitas go well with other greens like kale, chard, and arugula.

Vegetables: Some other of vegetables that would work: sweet potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash, or potatoes.

Roasted Carrots Multigrain Pilaf with Kale Pepita Pesto | Naturally Ella