Dandelion Basil Pesto is one of my absolute favourite condiments. I put it on almost everything! It is, in my opinion, the best way to preserve and enjoy these bitter spring greens that are such nutritional power-houses.
Dandelion leaves are a powerful food source, especially when consumed 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. This is 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. Italian chicory is also a great option that I find at my local farmers market – it’s in the dandelion family and is very similar in shape and taste. 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 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 (also called a “pistou”) I have made the optional suggestions of substituting hemp seeds or nutritional yeast, if you would like a creamier texture.
To make an AIP version of Dandelion Basil Pesto, omit the hemp seeds and nutritional yeast.
Dandelion Basil Pesto (Pistou)Course: AIP, Condiments, Dairy-free, Nut-free, Paleo, Recipes, Vegan
Add this sauce to salads, roast veggies or potatoes, grilled meats, grilled peaches, and more – get creative!
1 clove garlic
1 c. fresh basil, packed
1/2 c. fresh dandelion leaves, packed
1/2 c. olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Pinch sea salt
2 Tbsp hemp seeds, optional (omit for AIP)
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast, optional (omit for AIP)
- 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.
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