Dandelion-Pistachio Pesto is a delicious and healthy alternative to traditional pesto. It is made with fresh dandelion greens, which are packed with nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K, as well as antioxidants. The bitterness of the dandelion greens is balanced out by the nuttiness of pistachios, which also provide healthy fats and protein. The pesto can be used in a variety of ways, such as a sauce for Dandelion-Pistachio Pesto Pasta, a spread for sandwiches, or a dip for vegetables. It is easy to make and can be stored in the fridge or freezer for later use. Dandelion-Pistachio Pesto is a flavourful and nutritious way to incorporate more local greens into your diet.
TIP: Because many people consider this persistent plant an unwanted weed, forage for dandelions in locations where you are certain they haven’t been sprayed with toxic herbicides.
Makes 3 cups
1 ½ cups tightly packed dandelion leaves, well rinsed, blanched and squeezed of excess liquid
1 ½ cups baby spinach, well rinsed, blanched and squeezed of excess liquid
½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 cloves garlic
1 cup lightly toasted pistachios
3⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In the bowl of a food processor or blender, pulse together blanched dandelion and spinach leaves, cheese, garlic and nuts. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the motor running, add olive oil and process until a smooth paste forms; feel free to add a bit more extra-virgin olive oil if you prefer a looser texture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve as a sauce on Dandelion-Pistachio Pesto Pasta.
Chef ILona Daniel is Harrowsmith’s Food Editor and the founder of Tribe Fresh Events and Consulting, a purpose-driven insights consultancy accelerated by modern approaches to the hospitality industry, immersive experiences, and community and culture development. She has worked on projects around the world and is on the Board of Directors for the Tourism Association of PEI. Chef Ilona is a media personality, and a Culinary Instructor at the Culinary Institute of Canada.