- 4–6 cups wild raw stinging nettles
- ½ cup hazelnuts
- 2 garlic cloves
- Pinch of salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- ⅓ cup olive oil
Using gloves or tongs, place the nettles in a bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F and roast the hazelnuts for 10 to 15 minutes. Wrap the roasted hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 2 minutes, then rub off the outer skins using the towel. Set aside to cool while preparing the nettles.
Drain the nettles and transfer them to the boiling water, using gloves or tongs. Blanch for 1 minute, then drain well and let cool slightly. It is safe to touch nettles once blanched. Remove the stalks and stems.
Squeeze excess water from the nettles and transfer to a food processor, along with the hazelnuts, garlic, salt, lemon juice, and cheese (if desired). Process until everything is very finely chopped, then, with the motor running, stream in the olive oil and process until the pesto is smooth and creamy.
Serve with pasta, grilled vegetables, crackers, or over chicken or fish. The pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Other suggestions for using stinging nettles:
Use it in soups, risotto, spanakopita, or as you would use spinach or kale. Infuse nettle leaves in apple cider vinegar to drizzle over salad. For tea infusions, steep for several hours or overnight to get the most benefits.
“Nettle can be used topically too. A strong nettle infusion can be used as a rinse on hair and skin which can relieve eczema and brighten dull hair.”
—Amanda Midkiff, Locust Light Farm
Save the Date:
May 12th – Garden Festival at Gravity Hill
Locust Light Farm will be hosting gardening workshops, and the apothecary garden will debut and be open to the public. Harvest your own fresh herbs!
About this recipe
Courtesy of Nicole Piazza, MS, RD, of Nourish to Heal in Flemington and owner of The Clean Plate Kitchen in Clinton