New Discovery & Old Favourite – Nettle Pesto Recipe

Since first discovering Garlic Mustard / Jack-by-the-Hedge / Alliaria petiolata a couple of weeks ago, I’ve come across loads of tangy specimens on my forages.

Garlic Mustard is easy to spot just now in this part of the world as the small white flowers are coming out. This helps differentiate it from Nettles (that and the lack of sting) which is just about to produce a quite different flower. Above is a particularly tall example of Garlic Mustard, at least a metre, when most that I’ve seen before have been ankle-biters in comparison.

Since I’m on the subject of harvesting, now is just the right time to get picking the young shoots of Nettles – pictured on the right above. These are particularly tasty as the base for nettle pesto.

Nettle Pesto Recipe

Wilt 2 large handfuls Nettle tops for a few minutes in a small amount of boiling water in a covered pot over gentle heat. Strain the nettles – reserving the water to drink warm later.

Lightly toast a scant handful of pine nuts (about 50g) in a dry pan. Remove and place in a large bowl / food processor with 50g grated parmesan, juice of half a lemon and the wilted Nettles.

For garlic you can add 2/3 cloves crushed garlic or 4 finely chopped leaves of Wild Garlic or a small handful of finely chopped leaves of Garlic Mustard.

Blend all together using food processor or stick blender.

Add salt and pepper to taste and olive oil to get your preferred consistency.

Don’t forget to drink the nettle water – it’s very rich in minerals.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Fab Cat, We’ve been on wild garlic pesto for weeks, so this was a nice variation, we did it with walnuts instead of pine kernels pistou style without the cheese and it was lovely, thanks for the inspiration ; )


  2. Thanks BF – just made a batch for the herbwalk tomorrow – hoping the general public are as appreciative. Cx


  3. I like your recipe. I did a mini foraging walk in Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago and can new identify the above plants. Amazing what we walk passed every day. Recipe sounds delicious!


  4. […] and general sneezes. Elderflower can be combined with some other local delicacies we found – Nettle – currently flowering and still full of punch – Plantain (Broad-leaved or Ribwort) […]


  5. […] These are begged, borrowed and stolen from all over the place – including earlier in this blog and I’m pretty sure from the inimitable Richard Mabey’s Food for Free. I’ve tried […]


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