- Media Credit: Carol Clayton

Vegan Stinging Nettle Pesto

Toss this flavorful vegan pesto with your favorite pasta for a quick weeknight dinner!


1 Minutes Read

Toss this flavorful vegan pesto with your favorite pasta for a quick weeknight dinner!
Duration21 mins
Cook Time1 min
Prep Time20 mins
Servings6 servings


  • 6 cups 90 g of stinging nettles, blanched, squeezed dry, and chopped
  • Salted water for blanching the nettles 2 quarts of water mixed with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
  • 1 cup 115 g of walnuts
  • 1-2 garlic cloves minced (2 cloves if you really love garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons of water


  • Deactivate the stinging nettles – In a 4–6-quart pot, bring 2 quarts of water with 1 tablespoon of salt to a rapid boil. Use a gloved hand and tongs to plunge the nettles into the boiling water. Blanch for 60 seconds only. Drain the nettles in a colander and rinse under cold running water. (You can also immerse them into an ice bath, but I find cold water does the trick.) Gather the nettles in your hands (They won’t’ sting, I promise!) and squeeze all the extra water out by forming them into a tidy round ball. Roughly chop the nettles and set aside.
  • Make the pesto – Add the walnuts to a food processor (not a blender) and pulse until coarsely ground. Next, add the nettles, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. Process until a chunky paste begins to form.
  • With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Then slowly add the water. You’re looking for a consistency that is thick enough to spread on a cracker or thin enough to toss with pasta. So, add more or less liquid depending on how thick/thin you like your pesto.
  • Sprinkle in a dash of salt and pepper and taste before adding more. You’re looking for a burst of flavor that makes you immediately want to take another bite!
Recipe republished with permission from Carol Clayton AKA Vegetafull. Find the original recipe here.
  • Store leftover pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  • For vegan pesto pasta, toss with 1 pound of spiral shaped pasta, cooked, like fusilli or rotini and serve with a sprinkling of vegan parmesan cheese!
  • If you’re new to stinging nettles, read all about how to make them safe for eating in this blog post here.
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The Author

Carol Clayton

Carol Clayton is passionate about sharing delicious vegan recipes with you that are also gluten-free. Carol's mission is simple and that is to feed people plants. VegetaFull, in a word, embodies the idea that you can have a full heart and a full belly at the same time all by eating plants. I’m so happy we’re on this journey together!

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