Contrary to popular belief, the front yard variety of dandelion is completely edible, from the flower down to the root. Before harvesting dandelions, ensure that no chemicals have been sprayed in the area. Known as a bitter green, dandelion leaves happen to be perfect for making pesto. Pesto lends itself to a variety of individual variations, so feel free to try this recipe with added lemon juice, different-flavoured oils and other seeds and nuts.
- 1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
- 4 oz dandelion greens, about 4 cups, chopped
- 1/2 cup good-quality olive oil
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic, or more to taste
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 3/4 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spread out the pumpkin seeds on a small tray. Roast the seeds in the oven just until toasted and very lightly browned, about 10 minutes. The seeds can burn quickly, so keep an eye on them. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In a food processor, combine the dandelion greens, cooled pumpkin seeds, olive oil, Parmesan, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper to taste. Pulse in 30-second intervals, scraping down the sides each time before re-processing. After about 2 minutes, the pesto will be ready. Some people like their pesto on the chunky side, while others like it quite fine—both ways are delicious. This pesto freezes well for up to 3 months, or you can refrigerate it for 1 to 2 weeks.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups