Early Spring foraging brings a bevy of delightful seasonal dishes. One of our new favorites is pesto made with purple dead nettle. This easy to find, nutritious “weed” makes for a scrumptious meal. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the coming of Spring!
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This is a somewhat new revelation for me, but I adore pesto! It’s such a versatile concept – greens, nuts, garlic, & cheese. What’s not to love about that??
In years past, we’ve been pretty unsuccessful in growing basil. Between poor light conditions and pesky slugs, we just never seemed to have enough. And buying that quantity of basil or jars of pre-made pesto can get expensive!
Branching out in your choice of greenery gives you the chance to experience seasonal versions of pesto all year long.
And you’ll notice I mentioned seasonal versions…
No, this recipe does not taste like traditional basil pesto.
But we love purple dead nettle pesto for its uniqueness! It’s less sweet, a little more earthy, but still has great flavor. We wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t delicious…
Read more about foraging for purple dead nettles here.
We’ve been grooving on this pesto all week – putting it on just about anything we can find.
Try marinating a few chicken breasts in balsamic vinegar, then throw them on the grill – top with mozzarella and a dollop of purple dead nettle pesto. Heaven!
This pesto can also be mixed into eggs, used as a sandwich spread, or thinned out for a salad dressing. The possibilities are endless!
Pro Tip: Be sure to do taste tests while making the pesto and adjust the flavors as you see fit. Even from one batch to another, I found myself slightly changing the sugar and spice quantities.
What do you think? Are you ready to try your hand at foraging & enjoy some seasonal cooking? Purple dead nettle is perfect for beginner foragers. Plus you can’t mess up this recipe!
Be sure to check out these helpful articles for more foraging ideas…
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Purple Dead Nettle Pesto
- 3 Cups Purple Dead Nettle packed – leaves & flower tops
- 5 Cloves Garlic
- 1/3 Cup Nuts pecans, walnuts, pines nuts, etc.
- 1 Tsp Italian Seasoning
- 2 1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 2-4 Pinches Sugar
- 3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2-1 Cup Olive Oil
- Harvest your purple dead nettle by picking the flower & leaf tops off the plant.
- Rinse and dry the dead nettles.
- In a food processor, blend all ingredients except the olive oil.
- After ingredients are combined, pour the olive oil in as a slow drizzle, until you've reached the desired consistency.
- Make adjustments as neccssary. From batch to batch, I find that I sometimes need to adjust the seasonings.
- If you choose to store your pesto in the freezer, do not add the parmesan cheese until you thaw and serve. Freezing with the cheese will change the consistancy.
Sounds super delicious !! thank you
Excited to try this! Our new farm is rampant with them & I’m excited to put them to use. Just to clarify, I am plucking the leaves & flowers off the stem portion, correct?
Thank you for these brilliant recipes, I’m excited to try them!
Thanks Jenna! I know we connected via Instagram, but in case anyone else has the same question – yes, I generally remove the stems and work with just the flowers, though the stems aren’t harmful at all.
Sooooo good! Can you freeze this?
Glad you like it! Yup, we’ve got some in the freezer right now.