You know those prickly, pokey weeds that grow along hiking trails and at the edges of your garden? They’re entirely edible, though they do require some taming. Adding a handful of purslane—another weed that grows between cracks in the sidewalk and in your garden—adds omega-3 fats and minerals. When you gather them, use gloves to avoid stickers from the nettles, and be sure to gather them from areas that you know have not been sprayed; you can also find both nettles and purslane at many farmer’s markets. This savory, bright pesto freezes well, so you can enjoy it in the darkest depths of winter.
1/2 pound nettles (about 1 cup)
1/4 pound purslane (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup raw pine nuts, cashews or macadamia nuts
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Remove tough stems from bottom of nettles and discard. Remove any root ends from purslane. Wash both thoroughly and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat, add nettles and let stand for 1 minute. Strain through a colander and rinse with cold water. Squeeze out as much water as possible.
Combine nettles, purslane, nuts and garlic in a food processor or Vitamix. Puree until well combined. With the food processor or Vitamix running, add olive oil, continuing to process until smooth. Add cheese or nutritional yeast, and pulse just to combine. Taste pesto and add lemon juice as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.