Swap Basil for Garlic Mustard Greens in This Hudson Valley Pesto

Adobe Stock | Photo by marysckin

Infuse your next pesto pasta dinner with garlic mustard greens or other native wild greens, including dandelion, chickweed, and more.

Garlic mustard is an invasive plant that also happens to have a pleasant, mildly garlicky flavor. It’s also high in vitamins A, C, carotenoids, several minerals, and fiber, so eating it is good for both native plants and also for you and your family. Although the recipe below specifies garlic mustard greens since those will be in season later this spring, you can use any wild greens that can be eaten raw, including dandelion, chickweed, wood sorrel, sheep sorrel, violet leaf, wild bergamot leaf, and day lily, as well as a wide variety of cultivated greens and herbs.

As for how to use it, this pesto is a delight when tossed in pasta or slathered on focaccia as a sandwich base. If you’re in the mood for breakfast, swirl a dollop of it into scrambled eggs for a verdant twist.

Garlic Mustard Greens Pesto


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2 oz Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, cut into chunks
½ cup pine nuts (you can also use almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, green pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, if you prefer)
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 cups packed wild garlic mustard greens (or wild greens of your choice), well rinsed and dried
13 cup cold-pressed olive oil
Sea salt to taste


Place the cheese in the food processor and process until well-pulverized.

Add nuts and garlic, and process until medium-fine ground.

Add wild greens and process until mixture is well minced.

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With food processor running, add olive oil until the desired consistency is reached. A 13-full cup produces a thicker consistency — nice for spreading on bread, crackers, etc. For a thinner, looser sauce, add another ¼ to ½ cup of oil.

Taste first, then add salt, if desired.

Related: Upgrade Your Pesto With This One Unlikely Ingredient

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