Nettle Pesto

Nettle Pesto


2 cups stinging nettles, blanched and chopped (about 6 cups raw)
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup pine nuts, roasted
4-5 large garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste


Blanch the nettles in boiling water for about a minute.  Strain off excess water in a salad spinner or strainer.  Strain into the pot with the boiling water to preserve the nutrient rich liquid.  It’s also a good idea to give the nettles one final squeeze to get all the water out.

Place the nettles in a food processor with the pine nuts, parmesan, garlic, lemon juice, spices and half of the olive oil.  Blend it up a little, and then put in the remaining olive oil.  Blend up to your desired consistency.

Enjoy your pesto on pasta, bread, crackers, mixed into rice of quinoa, as a garnish to chicken or other meat dishes, on salad- the possibilities are endless!

Alternative ingredients for folks with food allergies
I sometimes leave out the parmesan for folks with sensitivity to dairy.  You can add in half an avocado instead, which gives the pesto the creamy taste without the dairy.

Notes on preserving

I like to freeze the pesto to have it all year.  I typically freeze it in ice cube trays, so that I can have little single servings to add to dishes throughout the year.  After the cubes have frozen, you can pop them out of the trays and store them in bags in the freezer. I’ll also freeze some in ziplock bags.  You can put a few spoonfuls in a bag and then flatten it out before freezing.  This allows the pesto to thaw out relatively quickly when you need it.

Note: Because I typically don’t think too much about proportions when making nettle pesto- just make enough for everything I’ve harvested, I did a little internet searching to look for a recipe with good proportions.  The recipe above is adapted from the“Fat of the Land” blog.  I don’t have any connection to this guy, but was pretty impressed by the pesto and fiddlehead recipes: