fbpx

Stinging Nettle & Walnut Pesto

A swirled pile of linguini coated with green stinging nettle pesto sauce and a few shavings of parmesan cheese on a white plate with a fork.

Stinging Nettle & Walnut Pesto

This Stinging Nettle & Walnut Pesto taste so amazing, you would never know it’s not my Fresh Basil Pesto. Best part is the Stinging Nettles are free and right there in my back yard.  I love foraging and finding things I can eat from the forest – especially the stuff that I can’t even buy from the store. I find a lot of Chanterelles in the summer and make so many delicious things with them. Most start with a Chanterelle Duxelles and build from there. 

Small stinging nettle plant in the woods.

How to Identify Stinging Nettles?

You definitely want to make sure that you are foraging Stinging Nettles and not a look-a-like plant or anything else you happen to be foraging. Always do your research. Here’s a link  that might be helpful in identifying Stinging Nettles. 

Will They Really Sting?

Yes, they really will sting and you will cuss like the dickens when it happens, so wear gloves. You won’t die. You’ll just be injected with some folic acid and the pain will go away soon. Embarrassing story… I harvested quite a lot last year, then at the end of the day, my hubby and I sat next to our fire pit at the edge of the woods. I saw a couple of weeds sprouting up in front of the fire pit, so I plucked them out. This is where I started cussing because they were stinging nettles. How the hell did I do that after foraging for them just earlier that day? Oh the shame. My husband could not resist laughing at me and who could blame him. 

Are there Health Benefits of Eating Stinging Nettles?

Yes, like so many other things we can find in nature, there are many benefits to eating Stinging Nettles. . Here’s a list of just some of the health benefits of eating stinging nettles: Anti-inflammatory, Treats Respiratory Issues, Strengthens Bones, Prevents Kidney Stones, Improves Circulation, Protects Heart Health, Improves Prostate Health and so much more. Follow this link to learn more.

Can I Eat Stinging Nettles All Year?

I only harvest them in the spring and I only take about the top six to eight leaves. I could tell you more, but this article by Rachel Lambert pretty much tells you what you need to know. 

Stinging nettle pesto spread onto two small slices of pretzel bread, sitting on a small bamboo cutting board.
I love it slathered on any type of bread, but this time it was pretzel bread. YUM!

How Many Ways Can I Eat Pesto? 

As many as you can come up with. I love it smeared onto a nice warm slice a rustic bread, use it as a sauce for pasta, slathered onto salmon and baked, or you can use it as a condiment when making your favorite wrap or sandwich or as the sauce for a shrimp and pesto pizza. There must be a million ways to eat it besides right out of the bowl. LOL

Step by Step Instructions

red tongs holding leaves while scissors are snipping leaves of stinging into a white basket of a salad spinner. Pile of leaves in front of bowl on granite counter.

Clean and trim stinging nettle leaves. I like to use a salad spinner so I can dump the leaves right into a pot of boiling water. Use a non-reactive pan* or your leaves will turn black.  (see note), Get a pot of water boiling and blanch leaves for 1-2 minutes. They are now safe to handle without being stung.

Drain leaves. When cool enough to handle, wrap leaves in a paper towel and squeeze out excess water. 

Pile of Parmisiano cheese with a hand grater on a white cutting board

Grate your cheese if you if it is not already pre-grated.

Stinging nettle leaves, garlic cloves, salt and pepper in a food processor. And a nutcracker who looks like a chef in the foreground.
I’m making a double batch in this photo in case you wondered why there was so much garlic. 🙂

Put the blanched stinging nettle leaves, garlic, salt and pepper into a food processor and mix. Scrape the sides, add walnuts, cheese and about 1/2 cup of oil and mix some more. Taste.

Bright green stinging nettle pesto in a food processor.
Add more oil if you want it to be less dense.
Stinging nettle pesto in a square glass dish. And a nutcracker who looks like a chef in the foreground.
Bon Appétit!

Stinging Nettle & Walnut Pesto

Total Time10 mins
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2 Cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Blanched Stinging Nettle Leaves water squeezed out (about 4 cups before blanching)
  • 5 Cloves Garlic (Large)
  • 2/3 Cup Walnuts
  • 1 Cup Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
  • 3/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper about 1/4 teaspoon each

Instructions

  • Clean and trim stinging nettle leaves. I like to use a salad spinner so I can dump the leaves right into a pot of boiling water. Use a non-reactive pan* or your leaves will turn black.(see note), Get a pot of water boiling and blanch leaves for 1-2 minutes. They are now safe to handle without being stung.
  • Drain leaves. When cool enough to handle, wrap leaves in a paper towel and squeeze out excess water. Put the blanched stinging nettle leaves, garlic, salt and pepper into a food processor and mix. Scrape the sides, add walnuts, cheese and about 1/2 cup of oil and mix some more. Taste.
  • Add more salt and pepper if needed, mix and taste. If necessary, add more oil while machine is running until you get the right consistency. It should be about a medium paste and not too runny.

Notes

Notes: Wear gloves while harvesting. Use tongs and scissors to snip leaves from the plant.
Aluminum, cast iron, and copper are all “reactive.” Stainless steel, ceramic, glass and metal cookware with enamel coating are all “nonreactive.”

Related Posts

Homemade Pawpaw Ice Cream

Homemade Pawpaw Ice Cream

  Can’t make this sh*t up!  Sorry for the harsh language, but now that I have your attention, I think you are going to really enjoy this story — it’s bizarre and 100% true.  We have lived in our current house for many years and […]

Warm and Tasty Chicken Posolé (Pozole)

Warm and Tasty Chicken Posolé (Pozole)

Did you know that Pozole means “hominy”? The word pozole, means “hominy”, (a type of corn), and is also a traditional chicken soup or stew from Mexico. We ate Pozole or hominy all the time when I was a kid, but it was just dumped […]



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating





%d bloggers like this: