Fresh From the Garden – Nettle Pesto Recipe

Spring has finally arrived and the world outside is turning bright and juicy green. In our garden we already started harvesting fresh chives, asparagus, oregano and also for the first time – stinging nettle that’s growing by our compost pile. I always knew how powerful and healthy this weed/herb is but never did anything with it until now. This week I felt inspired to collect the fresh, young nettle leaves and turned them into delicious nettle pesto. Our family loves basil pesto and I always make a lot in the summer and freeze it in jars to last us all winter. By spring we’re usually out of our pesto reserves. This nettle pesto turned out so yummy that I’m going to make more and freeze a few jars so that we can use it until it’s basil season again. If you’d like to make it, here is how:

Nettle pesto recipe:

  • about 6 cups young nettle leaves (wear gloves when you pick them!)
  • 2-4 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts (or you could experiment with other nuts)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

nettle recipe

It’s important to blanch nettle leaves first. Just add them (wearing gloves) to a pot with boiling water and boil for about 2 minutes.

stinging nettle blanching

Drain the blanched leaves on a sieve squeezing as much water as possible.

pesto from nettle

And nettle leaves, garlic, nuts and Parmesan to a food processor and pulse until well combined.  Then start adding olive oil and keep processing until the paste has a thickness you like. Add salt and pepper to taste. And that’s it, so easy! I transferred mine into a glass jar. Here is a photo of how bright and green my nettle pesto sauce turned out.

stinging nettle pesto

I used my first batch of nettle pesto as a spread for sandwiches but of course it’s also great with pasta. And the lacto-fermented pickles you see on top of the sandwiches are still from our last year’s reserves 🙂

nettle pesto ideas

I hope you feel inspired to try it out and if you’re interested in more yummy recipes made of “weeds” you may like to read about my dandelion honey experiment from last year. It turned out so good that I can’t wait for dandelion flowers to bloom to make it again.

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