Pest to Pesto April 21 2013

Pest to Pesto

Garlic mustard, dandelion, and nettles are they a pest in your garden?

You can go from Pest to Pesto and have an amazing nutritious meal.  We’re going to make pesto from garlic mustard, dandelion and nettles. 
Garlic mustard is a garden pest.  It is an invasive species that crowds out native plants.  It grows wild, is a perennial and spreads like crazy.  But, if you are going to pull it in your yard, why not eat it? Did you know that garlic mustard has one of the highest nutritional values of any green leafy vegetable?  Its high is vitamin A, beta carotene, zinc, manganese and fiber.  It tastes like a cross between garlic and mustard.  Add it to your salads, sautés, soups and more.
Dandelions, those wonderful “weeds” that are fabulous for your body.  They are loaded with calcium, iron, filled with protein and loaded with minerals.  Dandelion both helps your body become nourished and at the same time helps it detoxify.  As our livers need to cleanse in the spring, dandelion sure comes in handy as an amazing helper.
And finally nettles, also known as stinging nettles.  Nettles is a powerhouse of nutrition.  Early spring nettles is like a bottle of minerals packed into each bite.  Nettles are filled with calcium, magnesium, iron and so much more.  They are astringent, anti-inflammatory and diuretic.  Nettles will support your liver, your kidneys, help with allergic histamine reactions and give you loads of energy.  They are one of my favorite herbs. Today I went into my yard and picked some greens and made an amazing vegan pesto that you will love. ( If you eat dairy you can add cheese into it)  I just enjoyed a plate of gluten free pasta covered with this pesto and it was just delicious.

Wild Greens Pesto

Garlic mustard, Dandelion, Nettles 1 cup cooked nettles big handful of dandelion greens big handful of garlic mustard greens ¼ cup toasted pine nuts (you can use walnuts or hazelnuts) ½ cup olive oil 2 garlic cloves sea salt to taste nutritional yeast to taste ( I used approx. 2 T)  (if you eat dairy – add ¼ - ½ cup parmesan cheese) Start by blanching the nettles – boil a pot of water, drop the nettles in the water and boil for approx. 5 minutes (this will take the sting out of the nettles – nettles have little hairs on them that are formic acid – when you boil or dry the nettles it neutralizes it so that it won’t sting you)Take the rest of the ingredients and put them in a food processor – process till it’s the consistency that you want.  Add the salt and nutritional yeast to taste.