Wild About Pesto
Spring has officially sprung. A time for new beginnings. This one, we deserve. We’ve earned it. The bitter cold. The snow piling up. We’ve truly earned these days. The nourishing greens are sprouting everywhere. And growing larger by the minute. Dandelion and violet leaf and nettles – oh my!
Nature provides all the plant allies that we need for nourishing and cleansing after a long winter. Spring edibles are mineral rich, bitter and detoxifying. They help stimulate the metabolism and support liver function. We are often less active in the winter, and we generally eat heavier foods. When spring comes it is important to help the body clear out winter’s waste and boost your less active metabolism.
One of my favorite spring greens is garlic mustard. It is in the Mustard family and has relatives as noteworthy as kale, broccoli, cabbage and kohlrhabi. Garlic mustard was originally brought to the United States as a culinary herb and ultimately fell out of favor. Since then it has found its way into the wild and considered an “invasive” plant that inhibits the growth of other plants (more on the concept of “invasive” plants in another post). Instead of toxic eradication methods, I prefer to eat it! The leaf is pleasant with a subtle garlic flavor. The roots have a subtle horseradish flavor. My favorite use is in this delicious pesto (the recipe below happens to be dairy free). I kick up the flavor with cloves of garlic and a handful of basil – it would be just as yummy if you didn’t have them on hand.
Wild Garlic Mustard Pesto
1 cup of garlic mustard leaves
4 garlic cloves, more or less based on your preferences
15-20 raw almonds, may also be dry roasted
8-10 basil leaves, optional
olive oil, as needed
unrefined celtic sea salt and pepper, to taste
Combine garlic cloves and almonds in a food processor. Mix until roughly chopped. Add garlic mustard and basil (if using). Mix until everything is roughly chopped, stop every so often to scrape down the sides. Continue mixing and pour olive oil in a very thin stream until you achieve desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Makes approximately ½ cup of pesto. Double the recipe for more.