Beset by dandelions? Channel your inner weed-eater with this recipe for dandelion pesto.
By Yankee Magazine
Apr 23 2019
We curse them. We tug them out, and they return in what seems like minutes. Ah yes, that invasive and pervasive pox: the dandelion. But I say, befriend this persistent perennial, and—if you don’t treat your lawn with harmful chemicals (and I really hope you don’t)—cook ’em up. Dandelions are rich in vitamins A, B, C, and D, plus a wide variety of minerals and other beneficial nutrients.
First, I experimented with a traditional tea, but I didn’t care for the bitter flavor. Dandelion wine was fun, but the brewing and the bottling was all too much work. For me, the answer was pesto: the delicious Italian basil-based paste that can be stirred into cooked pasta, used as a layer for pizza, or eaten with a smear of goat cheese on crackers.
So mix up a big batch of dandelion pesto—it’s easy. And come winter, you may even be longing for a yard dotted with those tenacious “weeds.”
2 cups packed dandelion leaves, rinsed and dried
1 dozen large basil leaves
2 garlic cloves
1 cup lightly toasted hazelnuts (skins removed)
½ cup olive oil
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pulse together dandelion leaves, basil, garlic, and nuts in a food processor. Scrape down the sides. Add olive oil and process until a smooth paste forms. Pulse in cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
—Adapted from “Early Risers”
by Annie B. Copps, May/June 2009