Our yard needs mowing. Badly. The good news is we have an abundance of large dandelion leaves. Generally, I enjoy adding these to salad greens for a bit of punch. Today, I wanted to see if they could work in a pesto. Yes, I went in my overgrown yard and made pesto!
First, I picked a mix of small and large leaves. The stems are bitter, so although the large leaves get the volume up, the small leaves are super tasty. I brought my pickings in and washed them thoroughly.
Next, I cut off the stems and filled up the mini-chopper with about a cup of greens. On top, I added 1/4 cup feta, 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts, one clove of garlic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 tsp Kosher salt. In addition, I had these frozen chopped basil cubes. I put in 4 cubes, just to mellow the dandelion a bit. If you have fresh Basil, use about 8-10 large leaves.
Then, I pushed play!
Gorgeous! The taste is just slightly bitter, actually, more “wild” than bitter. I love that! My favorite leafy green combinations always include a few herbs or bitter varieties. This pesto leans that way.
Next, I thought it would be great over this Ronzoni Ancient Grain pasta. The mix of grains gives this pasta a nutty taste and it is not as heavy as most whole grain pastas. Topping with seared grape tomatoes, some additional chopped walnuts and a few twists of cracked black pepper, this bowl was finished!
In order to pull out the different flavors, I decided to make this a cold pasta and put the final presentation into the refrigerator for a couple of hours. By doing this, I felt like the lemon and feta came out in a way that was delicious.
Personally, I love finding new ways to integrate wild greens into our diet. Thinking that I went out with my basket, wandered my weedy backyard and came up with pesto is truly small magic!