- 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!
- 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.