I said it was a dandelion week here, didn’t I? Didn’t I? I sure did.
This recipe is a quick post that’s really a repost of my original pesto recipe. This time, however, you’re using dandelion greens in place of the basil. Yes, those little spiky green leaves probably growing in your (hopefully untreated) yard. Mmmm.
But how will that taste, you ask?
Well, it won’t taste like basil. Dandelion greens have a range of tastes for different people, and at different stages of maturity. I’ve heard everything from “peppery” (like arugula) to “very bitter” (frankly, like overmatured arugula). If you’re not a fan of bitter greens, the key is to harvest young, smallish, tender dandelion greens to reduce the bitterness factor. The bigger and more mature the dandelion, the bitterer the green.
No matter what, you’re going to get a stronger flavor than, say, lettuce, but that’s a good thing, especially for pesto. I actually prefer mine to be on the bitter side, as that flavor is massively tamed by the addition of oil, nuts, and salty goodness. In fact, I save the tenderer, younger greens for salads, as their more delicate flavor can get lost in oily pesto.
As always, follow the rules for safe and sustainable foraging when gathering dandelions for this recipe. Thankfully, dandelions are pretty good for starter foraging – they’re easy to identify, and their most common lookalikes are also edible and/or medicinal. Remember to wash them thoroughly before using!
Let’s pesto. Oh, do let’s!
Use anywhere you’d use basil pesto - it’s delicious!
you will need:
- 2 c dandelion greens (the leaves, to be precise, with any white stalky parts near the core removed), rinsed with cool water and drained
- ½ c olive oil or other light oil
- ½ c shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp toasted nuts (such as walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, or hazelnuts)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the dandelion greens, nuts, and parmesan in the bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment. Process until a smooth, homogeneous paste forms, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on the strength of your food processor.
- With the processor running on low, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the greens mixture until homogeneous and smooth. Yay, pesto!