Dandelion Basil Pesto is one of my absolute favourite condiments. It is easily my most-loved way to enjoy those bitter spring greens that are such nutrition power-houses!
Dandelion is a powerful tool, especially when fresh in the spring. The long, sharply serrated leaves act as a strong diuretic and blood-purifier, supporting our innate detoxification pathways. Their peppery bitter flavour acts as a digestive stimulant, helping the liver and gallbladder in bile production – an essential tool for proper digestion. Full of vitamins A, C, K, and many more, dandelion may be a valuable addition to your diet. Read more about one small resource on dandelion leaf nutrition here.
Sourcing dandelion leaves
While I love foraging my own dandelion leaves, I have found some lovely options at my local farmer’s market and health food stores. Have a look to see what is available in your area!
It is important to purchase organic dandelion leaves; or, if foraging your own, stick to areas away from roadsides, landscaped or chemically treated lawns, and other areas of contamination. It is also important to know what you are picking!
Traditional pesto often contains Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. While this is incredibly delicious, not all of us do so well with dairy and/or nuts. In this version I have made the optional suggestions of substituting hemp seeds or nutritional yeast, but to perfectly honest, I prefer to leave them out completely.
Add this sauce to salads, roast veggies or potatoes, grilled meats, grilled peaches, and more – get creative!
Dandelion Basil Pesto
1 clove garlic
1 c. fresh basil, packed
1/2 c. fresh dandelion leaves, packed
1/2 c. olive oil
pinch sea salt
2 Tbsp hemp seeds, optional*
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast, optional
*This pesto can be made AIP-friendly by omitting the hemp seeds!
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pulse until everything is incorporated and saucy, scraping down the sides of the blender as necessary. Add more olive oil if it is looking a little thick. Store pesto in a jar with a little olive oil on top to seal and preserve if you will be keeping it in the fridge for more than a couple days.
This sauce freezes well – again with a little layer of olive oil on top to avoid frost, and leaving an inch of space from the top of the jar to avoid cracking.
Looking for more pesto recipes? Try these!