Sunday Vegetarian Recipe: Nettles Pesto


via h-bomb flickr/CC

Don't be afraid of Stinging Nettles. When handled right, nettles can be used like basil to create all sorts of easy-to make, tasty treats, including pesto. Let's start with what nettles are. This "super food" is an herb found growing in the wild in many places around the globe, and its nutritional value is almost unmatched. One cup of nettles will provide 6.6 g of carbohydrates, 2.4 g of protein, between 7.7% to 17.5%of the daily recommended intake of iron, and its off the charts for vitamins K and A. Not bad for what many people consider a weed.Of course there is one important caveat to consider when looking at the wonders of nettles: their stinging quality. Nettle leaves come with little hairs that will sting you if handled improperly. The best way to harvest them is to take the youngest leaves and pinch them off at the base while wearing gloves. You can then blanche them in boiling water for 30 seconds to remove the stingers.

Here's a recipe for nettles pesto. You'll need:

6 cups of fresh nettle, blanched
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup (50g) pine nuts
1/2 cup (60g) grated parmesan
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to your liking

Take all of the ingredients and put them in a food processor. Blend until you produce a smooth paste. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a mortar and pestle or just use a sharp knife to chop everything to the finest point that you can. That's it! Spread over your favorite pasta or pizza and enjoy.