Why make Dandelion Pesto?
Dandelion pesto has brightened up many springtime dishes in past years. In Belgium, I sometimes gathered the leaves of this wildflower from my backyard lawn to add to salads, soups and other dishes.
Dandelion greens grow wild
Picking dandelion greens are an annual tradition that marks the arrival of spring. Although you can find dandelions all year long, the peak of their growth is during springtime. Most dandelion greens go unnoticed, except to gardeners who get annoyed by the stubborn growth of this weed as it spreads across their lawn. As quick as a gardener removes dandelions, new ones seem to grow back.
Surprisingly most people purchase their dandelions at local farmers markets or grocery stores instead of gathering them from their own garden. It’s a shame that so much of this plentiful source of nutrition goes wasted.
Dandelions are nutritious
Next time you remove dandelions from your lawn, keep them to add to your dishes. You can eat the entire plant: the flower, leaves and roots. Put a few leaves in your morning smoothie to start the day right. Or add some to your salad or sandwich.
Dandelion greens help clean your liver, improve digestion and provide a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium, among many other vitamins and minerals. Follow this link to discover the numerous health benefits of dandelions.
Lovely bitter taste
Dandelion greens have a slightly bitter taste that blends well with garlic, lemon juice, nuts and cheese. Making this Dandelion Pesto therefore plays to their best attributes.
A couple days ago I saw a bunch of beautiful dandelion greens for sale at my local 365 by Whole Foods. It was not spring in Los Angeles, yet here the dandelion greens were on sale and absolutely tempting. I grabbed up a bunch weighing about half a pound and decided to make some Dandelion Pesto.
Easy to Prepare
One-half pound of dandelion leaves along with the other ingredients produced about two cups of Dandelion Pesto. Preparing Dandelion Pesto takes only a few minutes with a food processor. The hardest part is sorting out the bad leaves and cleaning the remaining dandelion leaves. Once the dandelion greens are clean, you just need to put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse about 30 seconds.
You can then immediately add the Dandelion Pesto to some fresh cooked pasta or spread it on a sandwich. Three to four heaping tablespoons of Dandelion Pesto are enough to cover one pound of cooked pasta. Of course, if you want more flavor you can add as much as you like.
This Dandelion Pesto recipe is vegan. It has full flavor and does not require anything else. You can grate some vegan cheese on top of your pasta if you prefer. Or if you are vegetarian you can grate some Parmesan cheese on top of the pasta when serving. Parmesan cheese marries wonderfully with this Dandelion Pesto as it softens its natural bitter flavor.
Dandelion Pesto will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze the pesto by pouring it in ice trays and letting them freeze. Put the pesto ice cubes into a freezer bag and keep them until use in soups, pasta, or whatever you like. The pesto ice cubes will stay good about nine months.
- 1 lb dandelion greens
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 lemon juice (juice of one lemon)
- 3 oz walnuts
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper ground
- Sort the dandelion leaves by removing all the wilting or badly bruised leaves. Wash all remaining leaves and dry as well as you can.
- Add all the ingredients into the food processor. Pulse about 30 seconds or until the ingredients mix into a nice consistency for pesto.
- Use immediately over pasta. If you like add some grated Parmesan cheese. See notes.