Foraging: Garlic Mustard & Nettle Pesto Recipe : GF Video

Foraging was on our minds this weekend, seeing some edible wild plants in our yard, after listening to this NPR story on eating and cooking wild foods like edible Garlic Mustard and Nettles.

Yes, you can eat nettles, despite the fact that the stems of the nettle plant have tiny barbs that sting if you grab Nettles without gloves. The secret is blanching before eating the nettles.

Garlic Mustard is an edible wild green, its leaves have hint of Garlic taste, though the mustard leaf taste is more prominent. Garlic Mustard is a non-native invasive plant that crowds out woodland native flowers like trilliums, bloodroot, etc. When harvesting Garlic Mustard, be sure to remove the entire root base, so it doesn’t grow back.

Our Wild Edible Plant Pesto Recipe made with Stinging Nettles and Garlic Mustard is inspired by an NPR interview of Leah Lizarondo whose food blog is Brazen Kitchen. A big thank you to Larkin Page-Jacobs of NPR and Leah.

Please tell us about your foraging recipes and tips below the recipe, thanks.

Foraging Videos & Edible Plant Identification:

Here are other plant identification foraging videos we have done:

 Dandelion, How to find, forage, and cook Dandelion Video


Lambsquarter, Foraging and Cooking Lambsquarter Video

Click for photos of Garlic Mustard and Stinging Nettles for plant identification.



Wild Nettles & Garlic Mustard Pesto Recipe
A simple pesto recipe made from foraged edible plants, Garlic Mustard, Stinging Nettles and Dandelion
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
•    1 cup Blanched Nettles
•    3 cups Garlic Mustard Leaves
•    1 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
•    1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
•    1 cup Dandelion Leaves ( optional )
•    1/2 lemon
•    1 tablespoon lemon zest
•    1 cup toasted walnuts
•    2 medium cloves garlic
Cooking Directions
1.    Wash all greens in a salad spinner – wear gloves when handling stinging nettles.
2.    Take 2 large handfuls of nettles – wear gloves! and blanch in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain in a colander.
3.    Grate 1 cup of cheese using the large holes on a box grater, don\\\\\\\’t buy the pre-grated cheese, it tastes awful.
4.    Toast the walnuts in a fry pan on the stove, keep an eye on them, the burn easily.
5.    Place the greens, walnuts, cheese, garlic in a food processor, pour olive oil over the ingredients in the food processor.
6.    Add lemon zest and the juice from half a lemon.
7.    Turn on the food processor and watch the fun, you want the greens to become a roughly chopped paste, but not turn to mush.
8.    Serve this over pasta ( whole wheat pasta goes well with these flavors ) or in white bean soup, or on bread, its great.



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  1. says

    I love it! So great to get more in depth than 3 minutes.

    A little note for the nettles — if you are weeding out your own yard it is fine to pull by the roots. However, if harvesting in the wild, its advisable to cut the tops and preserve the roots.

    Mmmm, now I’m hungry.

    Thanks for a great video!

  2. says

    Hi Eric — what a great video! I just spent last Sunday pulling out all those annoying weeds (Garlic Mustard) here at the Jersey Shore because I didn’t know they were edible. Good news is — I have a lot more of them! Don’t have any nettles but I will try your pesto recipe with spinach as a substitute. Also the dandelions are sprayed on my lawn with pesticide so I will substitute arugala. Can’t wait to try this out. Weeds you can eat — yipee!!!

  3. Eric Gunnar Rochow says

    @connie, good to hear. yes please avoid the sprayed dandelion, but you may find some nearby that isn’t sprayed. enjoy the food, eric.


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