Dandelion Greens Pesto
As someone who recently relocated to the woods of Easton, CT from New York City, it’s challenging to accurately describe the feelings of gratitude and contentment I feel every time I visit Sport Hill Farm. I am continually inspired by the tireless work of Patti and Al Popp, who founded this neighborhood farm in 2001. From late spring until the autumn harvest, their rustic market shelves are overflowing with fresh, sustainably grown produce.
Last month, I noticed bundles of dandelion greens for sale at the farm. Admittedly, the few times I had tried cooking this humble weed in the past, I found myself recoiling from its bitter bite. Patti Popp completely renewed my interest in dandelion one day when she told me that she transforms the greens into flavorful pesto. The idea was enticing and I had to try it myself. The result was a delicious and versatile spread that tastes quite different than traditional pesto. I chose to add some toasted walnuts and blanch the greens, which significantly cuts back on their bitterness.
Why are dandelion greens nourishing?
They’re loaded with nutrients and contain anti-inflammatory properties. According to Chinese medicine, they’re good for tonifying the liver. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Iron, Potassium, and Manganese. They also offer a fair share of folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.
If you’re in the Westport area, you can usually find dandelion greens at Sport Hill Farm’s booth at the weekly Westport Farmers’ Market. I also highly recommend venturing up to their farm!
Dandelion Greens Pesto
- 1 bunch Dandelion Greens
- Optional: 1/3 cup Walnuts
- 4-5 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, more if you want a smoother pesto
- 1/2-3/4 teaspoons of good quality Salt
- Generous dash of freshly cracked Black Pepper
- Optional: Grated Parmesan Cheese to taste
- Wash the dandelion greens and trim off the base.
- Lightly toast the walnuts in the oven or on the stove-top with tiny bit of olive oil.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large metal bowl with ice water. Add the greens to the boiling water. After 45-60 seconds, use tongs to remove the greens and immerse them in the ice water for 2-3 minutes. Then, drain the greens and gently use your hands to wring them out.
- Add the dandelion greens to the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly.
- Add olive oil, walnuts, cheese, salt, and pepper. Process until desired consistency. Add more oil, salt, pepper, or cheese as needed.
- Enjoy on pasta, toast, alongside other vegetables, you name it!
Recipe and photos by Sophie Slater