Nettle and Ramps Pesto (Dairy Free)

Nettle Ramp Pesto 1

Last week I wrote about our outing to harvest ramps (or more properly, bear garlic). There is another wild vegetable available early in the spring: stinging nettle.

Stinging nettle has a distinctive sting when you touch it, but boiling or drying the plant negates the sting. It is a powerhouse of nutrients, packing many healthy benefits. A very shortened list includes the facts that: it is high in vitamin A, K, calcium, manganese, and magnesium; it supports the adrenals, kidney, and lymph system; is anti-inflammatory; increases milk supply for lactating women. In short, it’s sure to promote your health and well-being. It can also be used to fertilize garden soil and fed to animals.

Nettle Ramp Pesto 2

To use in soups, I put some in a food processor before adding to the pot, as the children are not keen on the texture. A healthful tea can be made from the plant, dried or fresh (it’s nice mixed with mint). I’ve heard of nettle beer. You can use it as you would spinach, for example my mom makes a mean lasagna with nettle.

But my favourite use is to make pesto with it. It’s oh-my-eat-it-with-a-spoon delicious. You can use pesto on pasta, in sandwiches and burgers, pizza or mini vegetable-pizza, in salad dressings, in soups or sauces, or, of course, by itself.

I’ve included ramps in this amazingly delicious but health supporting pesto, but if you don’t have them just substitute with garlic cloves. In the past I’ve used classic Parmesan, but also bryndza (a soft Slovak sheep cheese) and feta. Use your imagination! This time I made it dairy free with nutritional yeast, and to be honest I don’t miss the cheese. If you can’t eat nuts (allergic, AIP, etc), they can be easily left out.

I just had some with raw zoodles (zuchinni noodles) for supper and as I write I already want more.

Nettle Ramp Pesto, Vegan

75 g (about 3 cups packed raw leaves) dry stinging nettle
25 g (about 2 cups packed) ramps
80 ml (1/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) unrefined salt
40 ml (2+1/2 tbsp) nutritional yeast
20 g (1/4 cup) walnuts (preferably soaked)(omit for AIP)

Blanch the nettles in boiling water for 30 seconds to one minute (you can rinse the nettles off beforehand if you wish, but I’m rather lazy and take my chances). Drain and rinse with cold water. Squeeze the water out of the nettles (you’ll be left with maybe 1/2 cup).

Place all ingredients except walnuts in a food processor, blend until smooth. Add walnuts (or other desired nut) and pulse until nuts are in small pieces. Have a spoon handy to relish this wild pesto!

What other kinds of pesto do you like? Have you foraged for wild vegetables before?

Nettle Ramp Pesto 3

Shared at Fat Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Hearth and Soul, Gluten Free Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fight Back Friday, Real Food Friday, Simple Meals Friday, Savoring Saturdays, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, AIP Recipe Roundtable

25 thoughts on “Nettle and Ramps Pesto (Dairy Free)

  1. What a delight to explore your lovely blog and to learn about working with nettle. I can’t wait to try making this pesto recipe! Thanks for visiting UrbanNaturale. I am so pleased to meet you and your amazing content.I subscribed and followed you on social media to stay in touch. Feel free to visit again and share your healthy, natural posts in our 2 blog hops; Healthy Happy Green and Natural Party opens on Tuesday and Plant Based Potluck Party starts on Thursday. All the best, Deborah

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this little space! Thanks for the invite to the blog hops, I’ll come over and take a look. Looking forward to staying in touch with you!

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  3. I just had my lot of spring stinging nettles today. So lovely! Perfect thing to put into my belly after two days of being ill. Miso soup and blanched nettle gomae. I’ll try the pesto tomorrow :)

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    • It’s a wild spring garlic with big green leaves that grows rampant here, and also grows in different places in N.America but not in BC. It’s popular in farmers’ markets right now.
      If you don’t have ramps though, just sub a couple cloves of garlic.

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