From Pesky Weed To Medicinal Food
If you didn't know it already dandelion greens are an edible weed with medicinal benefits. Some view the dandelion plant to be a pesky weed, but those who know of its nutritional and medicinal value can turn it into something beautifully nourishing to the body. Dandelion greens grow abundantly in the springtime and fall, which means it's time to utilize those greens and make dandelion pesto.
This dandelion pesto recipe is a great way to incorporate more greens into your diet and it is completely plant-based, vegan, and gluten-free. The best part about this recipe is that it only requires 5 ingredients to make a delicious nutritious pesto sauce! So go ahead and give this medicinal sauce a try!
Health Benefits of Dandelion Greens
Let's talk about the health benefits of adding dandelion greens to your diet. Dandelion greens are nutrient-dense and a great source of vitamins and minerals, like calcium, folate, iron, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
Dandelion has been shown to help control blood sugar in people with Type 2 diabetes. It is considered an anti-diabetic plant because of its anti-hyperglycemic, anti-oxidative, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Dandelion also has diuretic effects because of its high potassium content, which helps increase urine and treat water retention. This also means dandelion greens can help treat high blood pressure due to their diuretic effects. Dandelions also can help control or lower cholesterol because they affect lipid metabolism.
As mentioned it also has anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce the risk of developing certain cancers and even heart disease. The antioxidants present in dandelion greens can also help protect the body against cancer and metabolic disorders and disease, by keeping the immune system strong.
This simple pesto recipe can be made with only 5 ingredients!
You will need a food processor for this recipe or even a blender could work.
Here is what you will need:
- dandelion leaves
- spinach leaves
- pistachios (or nut/seeds of choice)
- olive oil
- lemon (juice + zest)
You can also add nutritional yeast to this pesto recipe, but it is totally optional. Don't forget salt and pepper to taste!
See the recipe card for quantities.
In a food processor add the heaviest ingredients first, pistachios, dandelion greens, spinach, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and nutritional yeast (optional).
Pulse until the ingredients are broken down. Stop and scrape down the sides of the food processor if needed.
With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until well incorporated.
Transfer the pesto to a bowl and adjust to taste with salt and pepper. Keep in mind if you are going to store this in the fridge for later avoid adding too much salt. Adding too much salt will significantly cut down the bitterness of the dandelion greens the longer it sits.
Storage: The pesto can be refrigerated in a jar with a tight-fitting lid for up to 1 week. To avoid the top from darkening, pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top to prevent it from oxidizing. Or freeze any leftover pesto in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Pistachios - In this pesto recipe, we use pistachios, but you can substitute the pistachios for another nut or a combination of nuts and seeds, like pint nuts, cashews, sunflower seeds.
Bitterness - To adjust the bitterness of this recipe you can either adjust the salt which will make the dandelion greens less bitter or if you are trying to reduce sodium in your diet you can adjust the ratio of spinach to dandelion leaves. Just keep in mind the salt breaks down this bitterness the longer it sits.
Greens - If dandelion isn't for your palet, you can switch out the greens, with basil, kale, spinach, cilantro, or a combination of greens. Check out how to make a kale-basil pesto.
Dandelion pesto can be used just as you would any pesto recipe. It can be part of a spread on your vegan fromagerie board, or a quick and easy snack with crackers and apple slices. Dollop some of this vegan pesto on avocado toast for a light breakfast or lunch. This pesto sauce can also be used to dress pasta, added to pizza, sandwiches, and wraps, or as a yummy addition to liven up a salad. If in need of an appetizer go for this pesto-stuffed mushroom recipe.
Vegan Dandelion Pesto Recipe
- 1 bunch dandelion leaves 100 grams
- 1 cup spinach 50 grams
- 1 cup pistachios or nut of choice, 175 grams
- 3/4-1 cup olive oil
- ½ lemon, zested
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast optional
- 1/2-1 tsp salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- In a food processor add the heaviest ingredients first, pistachios, dandelion, spinach, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, nutritional yeast (optional). Pulse until broken down.
- With the food proccessor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until well incoporated.
- Transfer the pesto to a bowl and adjust to taste with salt and pepper. Keep in mind if you are going to store this in the fridge for later avoid adding to much salt, the more salt you add the more it will cut down the bitterness of the dandelion greens.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the frdige for up to 1 week.
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