Monday, February 21, 2011

Chickweed Pesto

I just returned from a fantastic four day womens retreat along the gorgeous coast of Mendocino.  I have yet to unpack my suitcase, though my pictures have been downloaded to facebook and I've spent most of the morning in the kitchen.  Priorities! 

And naturally being away from home for some time means a bare bones supply of food in the fridge.  But not to worry, I have learned that I do my best creative cooking when I have little to choose from.  It is when the magick is at its best.

So as I contemplated what to create for dinner, I could feel those wonderful stirrings of ideas coming forth.  Marinated grilled steaks topped with chickweed pesto!  With scissors in hand, I headed out to the front garden to gather that most abundant chickweed to make the pesto.

Ingredients for chickweed pesto

Chickweed Pesto
  • 2 to 3 cups chickweed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  1. Wash chickweed in a bowl of cold water, letting any sand or dirt settle to the botto.  Lift greens out of water into a colander.  Pat dry with a towel or dry in a salad spinner.
  2. Place peeled garlic in the bowl of a food processor.  Process to chop.  Add the chickweed and process to chop.
  3. Add the nuts, grated cheese, salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Process until gound into a fairly smooth paste.  If the mixture is too dry, add a little more olive oil.

Chickweed Pesto

But of course I still needed to figure out what to eat for lunch.  Rummaging around in the fridge and the pantry, I pulled out a variety of items and mixed them up into a salad.  Romaine lettuce, leftover quinoa, avocado, walnuts, dried cranberries, pastrami, feta cheese and to my delight I topped it off with some chickweed pesto!  I had never thought of using pesto as a salad dressing before!

"Leftovers in the Fridge" salad with some chickweed pesto as dressing

So I'm anticipating a delicious dinner tonight.  I can just imagine the chickweed pesto melting over my tender steaks.  mmmmmmm

How else can you use chickweed pesto?  On top of grilled chicken and seafood, tossed with rice or pasta, dolloped in a soup, drizzled over baked root vegetables, as a dip for crudites and crackers.  The possiblities are endless!

How will you use chickweed pesto?


  1. oh my gosh, yum! when the 2 feet of snow melt i'm all over this recipe!

    i can see little tendrils of chickweed peeking through where shoveling happened, so strong that little plant!

  2. Yeah, that chickweed is super hardy! Alicia got creative last night. She made a pastrami sandwich for her lunch, and instead of mayonnaise she used chickweed pesto!!

  3. Oooo, Kristi, this sounds really good! Yeah, I'm with Tracy...gotta wait for the snow to melt. :) But maybe some basil pesto for now!

  4. I agree with Kathy! Plus this looks good! I make basil pesto all the time, but I've never made it with chickweed. Did you grow it yourself or buy it? Maybe it's something that's at the farmer's market and I've just never been looking for it.

  5. Chickweed is a wild weed that grows in my garden. You might just be able to go outside and search and find some as it grows all over the place. I'm in California and in the spring and fall it takes off and does its own thing. Just never eat weeds on the side of the road, gas fumes, blech