Asheville Yard Pesto (Wild Greens Pesto Recipe)
Nutrient-dense, tender wild greens are one of my favorite things about spring! Their emerald nourishment is like water for a parched soul. In this batch I used chickweed, dandelion greens, purple deadnettle, and wild violet flowers all harvested from my suburban Asheville lawn. Some other common wild greens that are tasty and nutritious include stinging nettle, chicory leaves, wild violet leaves, cleavers, and clovers. Ramps are an excellent addition as well, but you might want to add a little less garlic if you use ramps.
The earliest spring greens are the sweetest and most tender. As the season progresses the greens will get more bitter and tougher. They are still an excellent source of nutrition throughout the year, but you’ll get the most succulent wild pesto when the leaves are young. I pick the purple deadnettle leaves and flowers off of their dense buds, but throw in the chickweed stems and all.
This wild greens pesto will keep for a week or two in the fridge. I like to make a huge batch so I have plenty for the freezer. It freezes very well, and thaws nicely back to its original consistency and flavor.
Tip: Fill ice cube trays with the pesto and freeze, then put the cubes in a zip lock bag. This way, you can thaw just as much as you need at the time.
3 cups of wild greens (no need to chop them up)
1/2 cup raw walnuts
2-3 cloves garlic
juice of a lemon
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup cheese (it's fun to experiment with different types)
salt and pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth. Taste and add more flavor if needed. Depending on the greens you use, you might want to add more garlic, lemon, or olive oil to get the flavor and consistency you like.
Decorate with pretty leaves and flowers and serve on toast points made from hearty bread.
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