Dandelion Pesto | Knowledge & Wisdom

Beset by dandelions? Channel your inner weed-eater with this recipe for dandelion pesto.

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 23 2019

Photo Credit : Silviarita/Pixabay

Useful stuff from 83 years of Yankee: 

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.”

Dandelion Pesto

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