Nettle pesto

My new little edible weed book arrived a couple of days ago:

It’s a great resource and conveniently pocket-sized. I’m even more enthused about maintaining a collection of edible ‘weeds’ somewhere in a corner of the food forest.  Going to need an alternative name to ‘weeds’ though, to eliminate the negative connotations.

I have a large, healthy patch of nettles growing at the moment so I was interested in the nettle entry. There’s a recipe for nettle gnocci in the recipe section at the back of the book and nettle pesto was mentioned, so today I got to and made a batch, using my normal basil pesto recipe:

I’m not sure about the taste; it’s very ‘green’ (a bit like eating your lawn), and not a patch on basil pesto, but I’ll try it on some pasta later in the week and see how it goes. Definitely won’t throw it out though, with all that goodness in the nettles it’s too valuable to waste. I might try the gnocci at some stage and nettle and potato soup which I made some years ago, is a winner, too.

My pesto recipe:

2 cups basil (or nettle) leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts or almonds
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Blend all except the parmesan in a food processor until the desired consistency and then stir in the cheese. Of course, it’s a doddle in the Thermomix and it will even grate the parmesan for you.

I picked a huge basket of nettle leaves, so what I didn’t use will be dried and ground into flakes to use in omelets, casseroles, soups, you name it, etc.  Nettles are extraordinarily rich in minerals, with 8 times more iron than beef, lots of calcium and up to 40% by dry weight of protein.

4 Responses to “Nettle pesto”

  1. narf77 Says:

    I KNEW there was a reason that I left those nettles running amok next to the chook yard (aside from sheer laziness that is 😉 ). I am waiting (most impatiently if you want to know…) for this wonderful little book to be released from some other grubby library goers hot little hands so that I can pore over it in detail (and probably scan the lot as well…penniless hippies sometimes need to resort to nefarious means to get what they want!). It looks like a good read and I have been tempted to include “weeds” in my latest sustainable landscape design plan just to see if I can give my straight laced lecturer a conniption 😉


  2. foodnstuff Says:

    Do you know I had a luxuriant, large pot of nettles which I was going to throw out, then decided I would put it in the chook’s playground to let them browse at leisure.

    They wouldn’t touch it!!


  3. Adam Synnott Says:

    I’ve done the nettle pesto as well. Like you said, very grassy. I then did one batch half/half nettles/basil. That was really nice.
    Cheers, adam.


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hi Adam, yes you just can’t beat basil unfortunately. However, when I actually used it on pasta, it wasn’t too bad. The ‘green’ flavour had rounded out a bit.


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