Dandelion Pesto

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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.

 

Dandelion Pesto Ingredients

 

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.

Pasta w Dandelion Pesto top
Pasta with Dandelion Pesto on top

 

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.

Pasta w Dandelion Pesto platter w cheese
Pasta with Dandelion Pesto with Parmesan cheese shavings

 

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.


Dandelion Pesto
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Dandelion Pesto is tasty, healthy and easy to prepare. In about ten minutes you can prepare a portion large enough for several dishes. One serving is equal to 1 tablespoon, which is enough for about 2 2/3 oz / 80 g of pasta.
Chef:Belgian Foodie
Servings Prep Time
48servings 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
48servings 10minutes
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Sort the dandelion leaves by removing all the wilting or badly bruised leaves. Wash all remaining leaves and dry as well as you can.
  2. Add all the ingredients into the food processor. Pulse about 30 seconds or until the ingredients mix into a nice consistency for pesto.
  3. Use immediately over pasta. If you like add some grated Parmesan cheese. See notes.
Recipe Notes

The Dandelion Pesto will conserve 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 until use in soups, pasta, or whatever you like.

Written by:Belgian Foodie

Nutrition Facts
Dandelion Pesto
Amount Per Serving
Calories 38 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 0.5g 3%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Sodium 28mg 1%
Potassium 47mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0.5g 2%
Sugars 0.4g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 9%
Vitamin C 6%
Calcium 2%
Iron 2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

2 thoughts on “Dandelion Pesto

  1. Don’t you miss those dandelions freshly picked in your Belgian garden ? They’re not here yet but there should be a lot of them in a few months. I also was wondering why people would prefer buying dandelion greens in groceries when our gardens are filled with them. I must confess though that I have never tasted them. I’m afraid this could taste too bitter for me. But you write that it’s slightly bitter. Anyways, rabbits like them, so I should as well! 😉

    1. Hi, Nadine. Yes, I do miss the annual picking of my dandelion greens from my garden. It had become a tradition. In Brussels dandelion greens would make a brief appearance in the grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Try some of your garden dandelions or store-bought ones if you prefer. You can mix them with other greens in a salad if you are afraid of them being too bitter. Let me know if you try this recipe!

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