Nettle and roast garlic pesto

Stinging nettles may not be on most people's minds as a foraged food, but boy are they packed with goodness, says Alison Lambert.

They are a good source of vitamin A, C and E and more.

They are also supportive in relieving rheumatoid pain.

Always wear thick gloves when gathering and preparing as they do sting, but don't let that discourage you as they are delicious.


Nettle and roast garlic pesto. Photo by Simon Lambert.
Photo: Simon Lambert

Nettle and roast garlic pesto

Makes 250g (approx.)

300g washed stinging nettles
6 cloves garlic
¼ cup good quality oil (rapeseed or hemp)
¼ cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
50g freshly ground parmesan or pecorino cheese
salt and freshly ground
1 Tbsp cider vinegar


Place the peeled garlic cloves in a little pot and cover with the oil.

Either cook over a very low temperature on the stove top or covered in the oven and cook slowly until the garlic is tender and the oil is fragrant (40 minutes).

Wearing gloves pick through the nettles, discarding any long stalks and dead looking leaves. Wash gently and drain.

Bring a pot of water to the boil. Plunge in the nettles and cook for three minutes. Drain, cool and remove as much excess water as possible.

When the garlic is cooked and cooled, place the garlic cloves in a food processor or pestle, add the sunflower and blend to a coarse paste, add the nettles and blend once more to combine.

Add the cheese if using and drizzle in the oil from the cooked garlic. Add the vinegar and season to taste.

Will keep in the fridge for up to three days and longer if completely covered with layer of oil.

- Alison Lambert is one of the demonstrators at the Otago Farmers Market in Dunedin on Saturday mornings.

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