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Stinging Nettle Pesto

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Leslie Kelly

"Put these weeds to good use in a sauce that's bursting with so many vitamins and minerals, it could be called a Spring Tonic. It's a perfect complement to mild fish like halibut, grilled chicken, and it gives your minestrone another interesting layer of flavor."
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15 m servings 120 cals
Original recipe yields 16 servings (1 cup)

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  1. Place hazelnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat; cook and stir until toasted, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Wearing gloves, add nettles to boiling water; cook until nettles are tender and still maintain the bright green color, about 2 minutes. Immediately transfer to a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Let nettles cool and drain.
  3. Place the nettles in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze excess water from the greens.
  4. Combine nettles, hazelnuts, Parmesan cheese, and salt in a food processor fitted with a puree blade. Pulse a few times before turning the processor on. Stream olive oil through the feeding tube while the processor is running until pesto is smooth.


  • Cook's Notes:
  • Nettles can be found at farmers' markets. In a pinch, you can substitute dandelion greens or spinach.
  • When storing extra pesto, place in a covered container and cover the surface with a layer of olive oil.
  • When making nettle pesto pasta, reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water and stir in a couple of tablespoons of the pesto mixture. It makes for a creamier pasta.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 120 calories; 11.1 g fat; 2.8 g carbohydrates; 3.1 g protein; 4 mg cholesterol; 237 mg sodium. Powered by the ESHA Research Database © 2018, ESHA Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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