Nettle Pesto has foraged, wild, stinging nettles (Urtica dioica), fresh garlic, extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese (or substitute vegan Parmesan cheese, if vegan), Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. It’s vibrant, vegetal, and loaded with vitamins and minerals. Try this Nettle Pesto on your favorite pasta, on toast and it’s a great sauce to go with chicken, fish, meat, or vegetables.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Table of contents
It’s early Spring here in New Jersey and that means it’s Stinging Nettle season!
This is one of my favorite foraged plants because it’s practically a superfood and so versatile.
I made sure to share lots of information about Stinging Nettle in this post if you are unfamiliar with it.
You can use it as a delicious tea or just like you would use spinach which is the vegetable that it tastes most similar to.
Stinging Nettle works beautifully in a pesto that you can use on pasta, toast, or eggs.
Always make sure if you are new to Stinging Nettle to get other people who are knowledgeable about this plant to help you correctly identify it.
I will link my current favorite book on foraging below and in the recipe card at the end of the post.
How Do You Harvest Stinging Nettle?
I first noticed the Nettle growing in my yard sometime in March. I have been harvesting them this April.
They are good to harvest when the plants and leaves are still young and low to the ground, like below your knee.
I would only forage for Stinging Nettle from an area that I know is safe and free of any pesticides, like my own property.
Here are some Helpful YouTube Videos on Harvesting Stinging Nettle (also with lots of information about the health benefits and how to process/cook them):
Helpful Stinging Nettle Videos
When is Stinging Nettle in Season?
According to GettyStewart.com:
Stinging nettle is a cold-season perennial plant, meaning it is early to pop up in the spring. It grows rapidly and will reach its typical 3-5 foot height quite quickly. The optimum time to pick stinging nettle is just before blossoms develop in spring and early summer.
What is Stinging Nettle?
According to Wikipedia:
Urtica dioica, often known as common nettle, stinging nettle or nettle leaf, or just a nettle or stinger, is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the family Urticaceae. Originally native to Europe, much of temperate Asia, and western North Africa, it is now found worldwide, including New Zealand and North America.
Scientific name: Urtica dioica
Higher classification: Nettles
Is Stinging Nettle Dangerous?
According to WedMD.com:
Stinging nettle is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth for up to 2 years or when applied to the skin appropriately. However, it might cause stomach complaints and sweating. Touching the stinging nettle plant can cause skin irritation.
What is Stinging Nettle Good For?
According to pennstatehershey.adam.com:
Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. Today, many people use it to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate (called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH).
What Does Stinging Nettle Taste Like?
It tastes a lot like spinach without the strong iron flavor, it’s fresh and vegetal.
What are the Health Benefits of Stinging Nettle?
According to Healthline.com:
- Contains Many Nutrients – Stinging nettle’s leaves and root provide a wide variety of nutrients
- May Reduce Inflammation
- May Treat Enlarged Prostate Symptoms
- May Treat Hay Fever
- May Lower Blood Pressure.
- May Aid Blood Sugar Control
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If you make this Nettle Pesto recipe and like it please give it a rating and let us know in the comments at the end of the post.
Thank you for reading and following along!
- 2-4 ounces Nettle Leaves (if the stems are young and tender, you can include them)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts or almond flour or meal
- 1 garlic cloves (1 teaspoon minced garlic)
- Kosher salt, amount to taste
- fresh ground pepper, amount to taste
- To Blanche the Nettles: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the washed nettles to the boiling water and boil for 1 minute. Turn off heat, drain and lay the nettles over a plate covered with paper towels and pat dry or press to remove the excess water.
- To Make the Nettle Pesto: Using a food processor, put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times until it is processed until the desired texture is reached. You may need to scrape down the sides with a baking spatula and pulse again. Adjust the amount of salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy over your favorite pasta or another type of carbohydrate as a marinade for chicken or fish.
- Storage: You can store this Nettle Pesto in a mason jar. If you are making it ahead, keep in mind that it should be used within 1-2 days and should be refrigerated.
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- Anthony's Organic Almond Flour, 1lb, Blanched, Gluten Free, Non GMO, Keto Friendly, Extra Fine, Low Carb
- Northeast Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Beach Plums to Wineberries (Regional Foraging Series)
- OXO Good Grips Lewis Pepper Mill
- Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. Classic Red Enamel Dutch Oven (Island Spice Red)
- Calphalon Classic Nonstick Dutch Oven with Cover, 7 quart, Grey
- Homestia Gold Measuring Cups and Spoons Set Stainless Steel 8 PIECE for Dry and Liquid Ingredients Engraved Measurement Heavy Duty Baking & Cooking Utensils
- MUELLER Large 5L Salad Spinner Vegetable Washer with Bowl, Anti-Wobble Tech, Lockable Colander Basket and Smart Lock Lid - Lettuce Washer and Dryer - Easy Water Drain System and Compact Storage
- Wilton Easy Flex Silicone Spatula Set, Your Go-To Tools for Mixing, Folding, Scraping, Cooking and Serving., Blue, 3-Piece
- Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless Steel
- Ball Mason Jar Pint Wide Mouth Clear Glass W/Lids and Bands, 16-Ounces (Set of 4)
- Kirkland Signature Organic Pine Nuts, 680 g
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 520Total Fat: 51gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 42gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 316mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 11g
Please note that the Calculated Nutrition is an estimate at best.