Stinging Nettle Pesto

Foodista Cookbook Entry

Category: Main Dishes | Blog URL:

This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.


2 cups stinging nettles, blanched and chopped (6 cups raw)
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup pine nuts, roasted
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste


Using tongs, blanche nettles for a minute or two in boiling water to neutralize the sting.
Remove to a salad spinner and shake off excess water, then ball up your nettles and give one good squeeze to wring out more water.
Chop nettles and add to a food processor with roasted pine nuts (or walnuts, if you prefer), grated Parmesan, garlic cloves, lemon juice, and seasoning.
Pour half the olive oil in and...Whirrrr. Pour the rest of the oil in. Whir again, until your preferred consistency.




Stinging nettles—among the first wild greens of the year—are loaded with nutrients and protein. Their taste evokes the moist woodlands of their home, with a peppery zing and the high green note that is typical of wild plants. Find them in early spring in your local farmers market—or better yet, harvest your own. Just watch out for those nasty stinging barbs. Wear long sleeves and gloves.

This recipe makes a full-bodied pesto that's perfect for tossing with cooked pasta. If you want something a little more spreadable for bread, try using more olive oil.

Stinging nettle pesto freezes well. Fill a few small (e.g. 4 oz) freezer tubs to use with dinner party pasta, as well as an ice tray for smaller servings. To fill the tray, use a plastic Ziploc with a corner cut out and squeeze out a blob of pesto in each cavity, just like icing. Remove the pesto cubes from the tray once frozen and seal in a freezer bag; now you've got instant sauce to brighten a fillet of fish or piece of meat—or simply to spread on good homemade rosemary bread.


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Saturday, February 13, 2010 - 11:56am


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