Dandelion greens are one of the first crops to harvest in the spring. Resilient in all manner of weather and temperature extremes, they grow undaunted throughout the summer and well into the winter. In the cool months of early spring, they're relatively tame, with just a hint of bitterness. Come summer, the intense heat and long days turns them unrelenting. We enjoy both renditions, but we recommend keeping the season in mind when making this recipe.
Serve tossed into pasta, mixed into olive oil for bread, or dolloped over grilled fish or chicken.
- 6 oz dandelion leaves, stems removed and roughly chopped.
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar (Optional, but recommended. The sweetness mellows the intensity of the dandelion.)
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 grated Parmesan
- Combine the dandelion leaves, garlic, salt, sugar, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processer and blend until the greens are finely chopped.
- Add the walnuts and pulse until very finely ground. Resist the urge to blend until totally smooth. Leaving some texture to the nuts and leaves keeps the pesto interesting.
- Add the Parmesan and blend to combine. (At this point, the pesto can be frozen without the cheese to be stored for later. If you choose to freeze your batch, run it through a food processor with the Parmesan once thawed).