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My Friend Debbie B. recently told me she made pesto with some garlic mustard she has growing on her property. My ears perked up because I have it growing on my property too, and I’ve always regarded it as something to dispense with, and no dilly dallying.
After doing a little research online I learned The Nature Conservancy calls garlic mustard a ‘troublesome, destructive invasive plant, that is also edible.’ It lives in the Northeast, Midwest and Northwest of the United States.
Alas, as with most invasives the goal is mediation not eradication, simply because the latter is generally impossible. So what better way to mediate than by eating the plant!
I asked Debbie to demonstrate how she makes her pesto sauce. I can vouch for the taste– we had it on pasta and it was delicious!
I invited Debbie to come over to my house for our tutorial. We walked down to the pond where I have a colony of garlic mustard plants and she showed me how to pick the most flavorful leaves for pesto. Then we prepped the ingredients in my kitchen. I took a video of the process, which you can watch by clicking here.
Here’s the recipe:
- 3 cups of garlic mustard leaves picked fresh from the plant. (If the plant is young and under 12″ or so in height, the leaves are tastier and larger.)
- 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 clove minced or finely chopped fresh garlic
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Put the parmesan cheese, garlic, walnuts and olive oil in a food processor, along with about 1/3 of the garlic mustard leaves. Pulse until the leaves are processed and then add the rest of the garlic mustard leaves and pulse until it’s smooth. Add more olive oil if you want the pesto to be a little less pasty. Serve on a bed of pasta.
It’s delicious and a little tangy! If you have a recipe using an invasive weed, please share with us!