Most people probably associate pesto with the flavors of summer – what else are you going to do with all that basil? But for me, it can really be enjoyed year round. Anything you can pound together with a mortar & pestle (or a food processor…) is a pesto in my book.
My first spring pesto is made with a wild superfood I’d never tried before: Stinging Nettles. Have you heard of them? They’re an amazing source of vitamins A & C, iron, potassium, manganese and calcium. They’re also great for women who are feeling PMS symptoms, and can be used to soften hair, relieve acne, and treat arthritis. Crazy.
To get the benefits of this aptly named plant (it will literally sting you when you touch it with bare hands), you just have to harvest it with some leather gloves, and then steam it or blanch it for a few minutes before eating.
Above, I’m eating Stinging Nettle Pesto on a homemade seed cracker. Here’s my “recipe”:
Stinging Nettle Pesto
1 c. steamed Stinging Nettle leaves
1/4 c. garlic mustard leaves (or 2 cloves minced garlic)
1/4 c. toasted pumpkin seeds
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Slowly add the water you used to steam or blanch your nettle leaves into the mix until it reaches your desired consistency.
Vary this recipe in any way you’d like! Here’s some ideas of what you could use to substitute
For nettles: pea shoots, spinach, kale, garlic scapes, sheep sorrel, dandelion leaves, really any green leafy thing!
For pumpkin seeds: almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
Of course you’re free to use oil in place of water, add some cheese, or serve it on some pasta or something. While seed crackers are delicious, a much heartier lunch is some Stinging Nettle pesto served over millet. Ya, B vitamins!