Okay so most people are familiar with pesto – the unique combination of basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and some salt. Oddly enough I’ve never made pesto with basil! (I have nothing against basil, in fact I find it quite medicinal and delicious). However, when you discover that a variety of leafy greens can be substituted, curiosity gets the best of me!
Here are some stellar substitutes:
Dandelion Greens, Garlic Scapes, Kale, Ramps, Radish Tops, Beet Greens, Spinach, Watercress, Scallions, Broccoli, and so on but my two favorite have been:
Stinging Nettle Leaves
Nasturtium Leaves with some flowers
There are also great substitutes for nuts, cheese, and oil but this is about the leafy greens…
Nasturtium are quite tasty and if you’ve ever seen the plant it’s just stunning. Among the giant lily pad like leaves lie brightly colored orange and yellow flowers that are sometimes quite spicy in nature. The leaves and flowers are edible and make a pretty cool addition to any salad. The leaves, believe it or not, taste very similar to the flowers as well!
Before the summer comes to an end, grab some nasturtium leaves and make this delicious pesto!
Nasturtium Pesto Recipe
2 cups packed Nasturtium leaves (and flowers if you have them)
½ Parmesan cheese
2 T Pine nuts (or really any nut)
5-6 T Olive oil (or a neutral oil)
1-2 garlic cloves
So what I did was:
Add the garlic and pine nuts to the food processor and pulsed a few times.
Next add the leaves, cheese, olive oil, and salt
I ended up drizzling the olive oil in slowly as I pulsed
Pulse in the food processor until it’s all combined
Enjoy with others!
Store in refrigerator if by chance it was not all eaten