Have you tried stinging nettles? If not you’re in for a tasty springtime treat! Here’s how to tame the sting and make a delicious Nettle Mint Pesto. Similar in taste to spinach, only wilder, these nutritional greens can be foraged or garden grown. They are the main ingredient in our Organic Lemon Mint Nettle Herbal Tea and equally delicious added to spring soups and recipes. Filled with vitamins and minerals of calcium, iron, magnesium, and loaded with antioxidants, nettles are one of the easiest ways to help the body transition to a new season.
• A WORD OF WARNING if you are new to picking nettles – be sure to pick with well-gloved hands, as they have a nasty sting. But thankfully either blanching or drying will remove their bite, making them easy to handle and delicious to eat!
Nettle Mint Pesto Recipe
• 4 cups fresh stinging nettle leaves, packed (*prepped, blanched, then thoroughly dried. *See tips below)
• ½ cup fresh mint leaves, washed and dried well
• ½ cup toasted pine nuts (sub toasted walnuts if desired)
• Juice of ½ lemon
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (more or less, depending on how thick or soft a pesto you like)
• ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
• Optional: 1 clove garlic, minced
• With gloves on, rinse nettles and pull leaves from the stems. Discard or compost stems.
• Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt.
• Using tongs, submerge nettle leaves in boiling water and blanch for 30-60 seconds until just wilted.
• Remove nettle leaves from boiling water and immediately shock in a bowl of ice-cold water.
• Once cooled, remove leaves and dry thoroughly. Squeeze out as much water as you can before proceeding with the recipe.
• Coarsely chop nettles and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Add mint leaves, garlic if using, pine nuts (or walnuts), and lemon juice.
• Process until the mixture has formed a chunky paste.
• Drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until pesto is the consistency you like. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the cheese.
• Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Enjoy this wonderful spring treat!