slow-cooker pot roast

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Carrot Top Pesto

It’s tough to find a heartier meal than a hunk of beef, braised for hours in its own juices, served with a smattering of root vegetables.  That’s why I love pot roast–the rustic quality of the meal just makes me feel warm and cozy all over.

With a slow cooker, the preparation method is stupidly simple: brown the roast, dump it in the slow cooker with some veggies, and in 8 hours you’ll be ready to feast. 

carrots with tops

I put a little twist on the average pot roast by incorporating some carrot top pesto. Since these carrots are going into the slow cooker anyway, I figured the pesto would be a great way to use up those greens.

pine nuts

First, toast up some pine nuts for the pesto.

pesto ingreditents

Add them to a food processor along with the carrot greens, basil, parsley, garlic, rosemary, and lemon zest.


Pulse to combine, then set the processor to a constant speed and slowly drizzle in some olive oil.

pesto on roast

Smear that pesto all over your roast.

browning pot roast

Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and brown the roast on all sides. Transfer the roast to the slow cooker.

deglazing pan

Add a cup of beef stock to the pan and deglaze, scrapping up any brown bits. Dump the stock in the slow cooker and add two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.

dried mushrooms

I thought some dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid would be a good way to add a little more umami to the base. Soak the mushrooms in a cup of lukewarm water for at least 30 minutes. 

pot roast in slow cooker

Strain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and rinse them well. Throw them in the slow cooker.

pot roast mushroom liquid

Run the liquid through some cheesecloth or a fine sieve and pour it in as well.

pot roast vegetables

Finally toss in the chopped carrots along with celery, onion and diced rutabagas.

pot roast slow cooker

Cover and let the slow cooker do it’s thing on low for about 8 hours.

slow cooker pot roast

Remove the roast and veggies and strain the liquid. Divide the roast and veggies into bowls and pour the juice over top. Enjoy!

slow-cooker pot roast

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Carrot Top Pesto

Cook Time 8 hours


  • 3-4 pound chuck roast
  • 1 bunch carrots cut in 2 inch pieces with greens reserved
  • 3 ribs celery cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 rutabagas peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 oz dried mushrooms
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper


  1. Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup of lukewarm water for at least 30 minutes. Strain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and rinse well. Pour the liquid through cheese cloth or a fine sieve and set aside.
  2. Heat the pine nuts in a small skillet over low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Combine the pine nuts, fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse. Turn the processor to a constant speed and drizzle in 1/3 cup of olive oil until a paste is formed.Season the roast liberally with salt and pepper and smear with the pesto.
  4. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Sear the roast on all sides until brown. Transfer the roast to the slow cooker.
  5. Pour the broth in the skillet and deglaze, scraping up and brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour the liquid over the roast.
  6. Add the mushrooms, mushroom liquid, balsamic vinegar, and any remaining pesto to the slow cooker. Scatter the carrots, celery, onion, and rutabagas around the roast.
  7. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  8. Remove the roast and vegetables from the slow cooker. Strain the juice and serve over the roast.


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