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Dandelion pesto recipe

Dandelion pesto recipe

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This sauce uses dandelion leaves in place of basil leaves for a mineral-packed pesto. Toss with warm pasta or dollop on top of bruschetta.

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 16

  • 100g young dandelion greens
  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 40g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • salt to taste (optional)
  • 1 pinch dried chilli flakes, or to taste (optional)

MethodPrep:10min ›Ready in:10min

  1. Place dandelion greens, olive oil, Parmesan cheese and garlic in a food processor; blend until smooth. Season with salt and chilli flakes.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(4)

Reviews in English (3)

by noeticblues

I just made this a few minutes ago, and I'm giving it a 4* review with the idea that I'll come back and rate it later after it has rested for a couple of days. For the measurement, I rough chopped the dandelions and then really packed them in, as if it were basil in a traditional pesto. If you don't mind a little bitterness, it is good. I'm thinking of using it as a marinade on lamb.-17 Apr 2013

by OLDM1

It was way too bitter. I saw someone online cuts dandelion with honey so I tried that but it's still way too bitter. I was thinking of using it on pasta as a pesto.-08 Jan 2014

Dandelion Pesto

Dandelion pesto has brightened up many springtime dishes in past years. In Belgium, I sometimes gathered the leaves of this wildflower from my backyard lawn to add to salads, soups and other dishes.

Dandelion greens grow wild

Picking dandelion greens are an annual tradition that marks the arrival of spring. Although you can find dandelions all year long, the peak of their growth is during springtime. Most dandelion greens go unnoticed, except to gardeners who get annoyed by the stubborn growth of this weed as it spreads across their lawn. As quick as a gardener removes dandelions, new ones seem to grow back.

Surprisingly most people purchase their dandelions at local farmers markets or grocery stores instead of gathering them from their own garden. It’s a shame that so much of this plentiful source of nutrition goes wasted.

Dandelions are nutritious

Next time you remove dandelions from your lawn, keep them to add to your dishes. You can eat the entire plant: the flower, leaves and roots. Put a few leaves in your morning smoothie to start the day right. Or add some to your salad or sandwich.

Dandelion greens help clean your liver, improve digestion and provide a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium, among many other vitamins and minerals. Follow this link to discover the numerous health benefits of dandelions.

Lovely bitter taste

Dandelion greens have a slightly bitter taste that blends well with garlic, lemon juice, nuts and cheese. Making this Dandelion Pesto therefore plays to their best attributes.

A couple days ago I saw a bunch of beautiful dandelion greens for sale at my local 365 by Whole Foods. It was not spring in Los Angeles, yet here the dandelion greens were on sale and absolutely tempting. I grabbed up a bunch weighing about half a pound and decided to make some Dandelion Pesto.

Easy to Prepare

One-half pound of dandelion leaves along with the other ingredients produced about two cups of Dandelion Pesto. Preparing Dandelion Pesto takes only a few minutes with a food processor. The hardest part is sorting out the bad leaves and cleaning the remaining dandelion leaves. Once the dandelion greens are clean, you just need to put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse about 30 seconds.

You can then immediately add the Dandelion Pesto to some fresh cooked pasta or spread it on a sandwich. Three to four heaping tablespoons of Dandelion Pesto are enough to cover one pound of cooked pasta. Of course, if you want more flavor you can add as much as you like.

Pasta with Dandelion Pesto on top

This Dandelion Pesto recipe is vegan. It has full flavor and does not require anything else. You can grate some vegan cheese on top of your pasta if you prefer. Or if you are vegetarian you can grate some Parmesan cheese on top of the pasta when serving. Parmesan cheese marries wonderfully with this Dandelion Pesto as it softens its natural bitter flavor.

Pasta with Dandelion Pesto with Parmesan cheese shavings

Dandelion Pesto will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze the pesto by pouring it in ice trays and letting them freeze. Put the pesto ice cubes into a freezer bag and keep them until use in soups, pasta, or whatever you like. The pesto ice cubes will stay good about nine months.

Vegan Dandelion Pesto

Dandelion greens really are tasty. I was so surprised about how good this pesto was. It is important to pick the young leaves, of course with no pesticides or fertilizers. We enjoyed the pesto as a spread on baguette slices with white wine while we watched a movie. It was truly delicious. The slices also looked pretty garnished with daisies or other edible wildflowers.

Yield: 1½ cups


  • 4 cups fresh dandelion leaves (young leaves are preferable)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts (or other nuts)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • dash freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
  1. It is best to choose the young leaves of dandelions growing in spring as they are less bitter. Wash well and spin dry.
  2. Place the dandelion leaves in a food processor.
  3. Add the lemon juice and olive oil
  4. Process the leaves into a fine paste.
  5. Add the salt and mustard powder and process.
  6. Add the garlic and walnuts and process.
  7. Add the nutritional yeast and process again to a smooth consistency.

We did find that the “bitterness” of the leaves was less after ½ an hour, so you may want to make the pesto a bit ahead of time.

Dandelion Greens Pesto Recipe

I love dandelions! They are so amazingly healing and so versatile to use.

One of my favorite recipes is dandelion pesto, and it is a perfect time for it. Dandelions are starting to pop up, so because I love pesto bitter dandelion greens was first on my list.

It really brings me down memory lane to my childhood, where I was harvesting dandelions with my grandmother and making different recipes- coming soon!

Dandelion has been used and valued since ancient times for its incredible healing properties. It is a symbol of the true perseverance of nature. Although this plant has a high value, it can be quite troublesome for the gardeners.

Dandelions are a nutritional powerhouse!

  • amino acids and fatty acids
  • sugars (eg inulin – which is necessary to form fructose),
  • minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium, boron, silicon
  • vitamins A, B, C, K and E

All parts of the dandelion are edible – stems, leaves, flowers, and roots. The root roots contain many beneficial substances that have a strengthening and detoxifying effect on the body, such as 10% glycoside taraxacin, bitter substances, inulin, and up to 15% protein.

Dandelion is used to treat anemia, liver conditions, skin conditions, lymphatic inflammation to improve gastrointestinal tract function and liver metabolism. The bitter ingredients in dandelion flowers are incredibly beneficial to the body because they stimulate the activity of the stomach and digestive glands, which promotes the digestion of food. This flower exceeds any vegetable in its richness of nutrients.

Dandelion is also anti-inflammatory, ant-viral, and antimicrobial thus, it is immune boosting!

How to Harvest Dandelion Greens

The time is perfect for it because there are so many dandelion greens all around and in my yard!

These dandelion greens now are absolutely gorgeous and big in early spring, which is is the best time to harvest them. To harvest and eat dandelions, try to clip the small leaves from the plant before the plant flowers.

How to Make Dandelion Pesto

This dandelion pesto recipe is relatively easy and standard as far as pesto recipes go. I just made a few changes because I used what I had in my pantry, so I used cashews instead of pine nuts.

Dandelion leaves replace basil in the pesto recipe, which is excellent for digestion and the liver.

The addition of lemon zest and juice cuts the bitterness of the dandelion greens. I also added some turmeric, which gives the pesto anti-inflammatory properties, and black pepper makes turmeric more bioavailable.

Place the soaked cashews, dandelion greens, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, lemon zest, and spices into a food processor. Process until smooth. If it is too thick, slowly add a bit more olive oil.

You can also add some parmesan or nutritional yeast ( nutritional yeast will give you that cheesy flavor if you don't eat dairy) and continue to blend until the mixture has a smooth consistency.

Keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Sometimes I also like to freeze in ice cube trays for later use.

This dandelion pesto is so flavorful and amazingly delicious!

I hope you try this dandelion pesto this spring!


Do you ever cook with dandelion greens? What is your favorite thing to make?

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thetastesoflifeholisticblog

Dandelion Pesto Recipe

Most people probably think that’s just a lawn that needs to be weeded, and they may be right, but it could also be a vegetable patch. Those dandelions are edible, at least in theory. You probably don’t want to eat just any weeds, since you want to make sure they’ve been protected from weedkillers, car exhaust, and dog pee. Which for me means only eating dandelions I’ve grown in my back yard. Fortunately, they grow like weeds!

These weeds make an excellent pesto, which of course I had to try on avocado toast. It was so good I’d serve it at a party, and if anyone objects to eating dandelions, I’ll inform them that they’re the newest superfood. Which isn’t even a lie–they are full of nutrition and antioxidants.
Although served up on my homemade cheeseboard, without the weeds as garnish, I doubt anyone would guess dandelions were involved in this pesto.

We don’t actually care about our lawn and want to rip it out eventually, but we try to keep it reasonably tidy. Since we don’t use any weedkillers and mow only when necessary, last year the weeds got out of control. It didn’t help that the neighbors next door were even more nonchalant about lawn maintenance then we are. Since their yard was an endless source of weed seed, we gave up on fighting a losing battle. They had more weeds than grass (no judgement, just the truth!) until they hired some landscapers to cover it up with landscaping fabric and mulch.

So this year, we might have a chance. We figured that pulling up weeds now, before they flower, will mean a lot less to deal with later in the year. Steven and I have been going on long weeding rampages. So the above photo isn’t my yard, and I was actually worried that we wouldn’t have enough dandelions in our yard for this recipe.

Ha! There were still way more than enough. If I have to put this much work into maintaining a lawn, I’d better at least get a snack out of it in the end. Although I cooked up dandelion greens last year, I never blogged about it. But this article from Gardenista reminded me of the possibilities. So I decided to make a batch of dandelion pesto with my garden bounty. That post also has good tips on collecting and identifying dandelions, although they’re probably quite easy to spot for anyone who gardens. Early spring is the best time to harvest them, when they’re the most tender and least bitter.

Dandelion Pesto

6 ounces (175g) washed and cleaned young dandelion leaves
1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons (20g) pine nuts
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1.25 ounces (35g) Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated

Place the pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat. Lightly toast the nuts, stirring frequently, until they’re golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the nuts from the pan and allow to cool.

Put the dandelion greens in a food processor with the olive oil, and process until they’re all finely chopped up. Add the garlic cloves, pine nuts, salt, and cheese, and process until everything is a smooth puree. Taste, and add more salt if necessary. If it’s too thick, you can thin it with more olive oil or water.

You can use this dandelion pesto anywhere you would use regular pesto. Even without the avocado and feta, it makes an excellent spread on crusty bread. I want to try it with a soft cheese next time I have some in the house, and I’ll be adding it to some pasta (probably ravioli), for dinner later this week.

Dandelion Pesto

Dandelion Pesto with walnuts is a unique twist on a traditional pesto with a subtly bitter and peppery taste. So good in pasta or on a toast!

Dandelion Pesto

Hello everyone – happy Monday!

I have few very important questions to ask. Do you have a lawn / backyard? Do you have dandelions you want to get rid of? I’ve got some great news for you then! Put your lawnmower aside – you don’t need it today!

Instead, grab the scissors because we are going to make this Dandelion Pesto! Sounds crazy? May be a bit. Certainly, crazy delicious, too!

Edible Weeds

Indeed, dandelions are perfectly edible weeds. The yellow petals from and the leaves can be eaten in salad, and the leaves can also be sautéed like spinach. You can also use roots (I haven’t tried it.) Don’t use the stems though as they taste bitter. Also, consumption of stems in large quantities can be toxic (I don’t think you will be enjoying the bitter taste that much anyway!)

Health Benefits and Side Affects

Dandelions have many potential health benefits. They contain antioxidants such as beta-carotene and polyphenols. Some studies suggest they may help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation, boost immune system, and keep your skin healthy.

However, please keep in mind there are side effects. So you should avoid consuming dandelions if you have certain health conditions (Including blood and stomach conditions.) Also, It could cause allergic reactions, stomach discomfort, and some other side effects. Before eating dandelions please make a research or consult with your doctor. Havoc in The Kitchen cannot be considered the complete and reliable health advice as I do not have any medical education, so I am only highlighting some possible side effects. As a rule of thumb, it’s always a good idea to consume this pesto in moderation, especially if you are making it first time.

How to Choose Dandelions?

First, collect dandelions growing far from the road (Fields and your backyard are some great options!) Avoid any dandelions that have been sprayed with fertilizer or any other toxic sprays. Try collecting small leaves as they taste less bitter. Do it as early as possible – do not wait until they become mature. You can always sample a little piece before making a recipe.

How Does Dandelion Pesto Taste?

This Dandelion Pesto tastes delightful! Dandelion leaves have a unique flavor, both earthy and bitter. To me, they taste something between radicchio (or endive) and arugula. The pesto has a delicate and palatable bitter aftertaste. Of course, it could be more subtle or more distinctive depending on the leaves taste. Combined with garlic, lemon, walnuts, and olive oil, it’s super delicious. Don’t want to use dandelions? Try arugula – I think have something in common.

How to Use Dandelion Pesto?

Use it as any other Dandelion Pesto. Pasta, on a toast, an addition to your soup – these are few of possible uses.

I hope you like this idea, and you will give it a try soon. Please let me know in the comment section or on my Instagram if you try it. And don’t forget to check this Pistachio Pesto.

Dandelion Leaf Herbal Pesto Recipe

Pesto is one of my favorite condiments and sauces. I love it as a dip, I love it on my noodles, I love it on my eggs….heck, I love it just by itself!

Luckily, it’s healthy and good for you!

This recipe uses the leaves of new spring dandelions. You’ll want to make this in spring through early summer because once the hot summer temperatures come, the greens turn very bitter. So, now is the time to get your pesto made! You can even freeze it for later use too.

If you don’t have dandelion greens handy, other spring greens such as cleavers, creasy greens, chickweed, etc. can be used also!

This is quite a specimen of a dandelion group of plants!

Ingredients for Dandelion Leaf Pesto

1/2 cup hard cheese such as parmesan or asiago

1/2 cup favorite nuts (walnuts, pine, mixed nuts, cashews…whatever suits your fancy)

3 cups or large handfuls of dandelion leaves (you can also use chickweed, leeks, chives, cleavers too)

As you can see, there is a LOT of room for some flexibility in this recipe!

Several hand fulls of dandelion leaves.

Directions for Making Dandelion Leaf Pesto

Step 1)

Place all of your ingredients into a food processor except for the olive oil.

Step 2)

Puree until all is somewhat chopped and mixed.

Step 3)

Drizzle your olive oil in until it’s the consistency you like. Some people love lots of olive oil, and others not so much. You get to pick!

Step 4)

Remove into a clean glass jar. It’s ready to enjoy!

Here’s the leaves in my old food processor, which still works like a charm after 30 years!

Dandelion Pesto

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If I had to pick my favorite wild plant that is readily available in a grocery store produce section, it would be dandelion greens. Yes, the weed most of us yank out of our gardens!

Wild plants like dandelion greens have more antioxidants and nutrients than traditionally cultivated varieties, as they produce more phytonutrients defending themselves from their environment. This means they have more nutrition for us, and you guys know how I feel about nutrient density!

One downside to wild plants is that they tend to be much more bitter than our palates are accustomed to. With this recipe, I’ve created a tasty pesto from the greens, as keeping them raw keeps their high levels of folate and vitamin C intact. Instead of covering up, I use their strong flavor to add a spark to other dishes — like stirred into a soup, stir-fry, or as a topping for a meat dish.

Dandelion Greens Pesto

Who doesn’t like pesto? Basil, Spinach…. but Dandelion? I was introduced to these greens by Katy Osuna, a young, very talented chef and fellow alum of the International Culinary Center. She and I were finalists at the Michelin Star LUCE Intercontinental Culinary Clash 2016 and it was Katy’s recipes that won won us the trophy.

Our winning appetizer dish was a Ricotta Gnudi with Dandelion Greens Pesto. My first taste and I was blown away by its earthy flavor. I was elated to find a new leaf vegetable to experiment with. But.. I learnt that Dandelion Greens have been around for quite some time.

Ricotta Gnudi with Dandelion Greens Pesto

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a perennial plant with bright yellow flowers that turn into silver tufted fruits that disperse in the wind. Who has not done that. It is also called dent de lion in French, meaning “lions tooth” because of the coarse shape of the leaves.

In her book The Teeth of the Lion: The Story of the Beloved and Despised Dandelion, Anita Sanchez speculates the origins of dandelions to be in North Africa and Eurasia. The seeds were probably brought by ship to North America in the 17th century, as one of the raw materials in the ship’s ballast.

Most of us associate Dandelions with weeds and yes they are that, found flourishing in so many lawns, playgrounds, roadsides, and parking lots but not many of us know their medicinal or nutritional value. The entire plant is full of vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as minerals, such as iron, potassium, and zinc. Dandelion Greens in particular have the highest Vitamin A content of all the greens. A Dandelion has more iron and calcium than broccoli and spinach.

Arabs get the credit to be the first to use it in medicine in the 10th and 11th centuries. The ancient texts refer to the dandelion as a wild endive. Interestingly, it is cultivated in India in the Himalayas (Indian name – Kukraundha or Kanphool or Seema Mulanghi) and the roots and flowers (an excellent source of lecithin) are used as a remedy for liver complaints. The leaves are predominantly used as a diuretic for flushing out excess water in the body. It is in-fact considered as one of the superfoods.

Dandelion Greens

They have been used in culinary world for many years and lo behold especially in France. It contains less calories, about 45 per 100g serving and is considered a reason why French women are so slender. Classic French preparations are the Dandelion Salad (with bacon, vinegar and garlic croutons), Dandelion/Burdock alcoholic drink and Dandelion Coffee (dried Dandelion roots).

The greens are nutty and pleasingly bitter in taste. Use the leaves to flavor sandwiches and soups, and of course make the pesto! Try using it instead of spinach in recipes for an interesting twist. They are available in the farmers market especially in spring and fall. Young dandelion leaves are less bitter than mature dandelion leaves. Don’t pick leaves that are wilted, or have yellow or brown spots on them.

Note: Use this recipe as a guideline and have fun with it. Use Parmesan or Fontina or any other cheese instead of Gruyere. We used Parmesan for the competition.

Dandelion Greens Pesto

Dandelion Greens Pesto

What do I need? – Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil + more as needed
  • 2 Cups Dandelion Greens
  • 3 Big cloves of garlic (Use more if you want it more garlicky)
  • 1/4 Cup Almonds
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh Lime or Lemon juice
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Gruyere Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Peppercorns (Adjust this amount according to taste)
  • Salt

Equipment Needed – Blender or Food Processor

Now lets make this! – Procedure

  1. Wash the Dandelion Greens throughly. Remove the stalk and use only the leaves. Blanch the leaves in a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes. Immediately plunge them in an ice bath (a bowl of cold water with ice). This will arrest cooking and keep the green color. Squeeze out the excess water and set aside.
  2. On a sheet tray, line the almonds in a single layer and bake them in the oven at 350F for 3 minutes till they are hot to touch. This will help when you grind them in the blender/food processor.
  3. In a food processor or blender, pulse/coarsely grind together all the ingredients (greens, garlic, lime/lemon juice, almonds, black peppercorns and salt) except the cheese. Drizzle in olive oil in a steady stream and blend until smooth.
  4. Transfer the pesto to a bowl or bottle. If you are using it immediately, mix in the cheese. If you are freezing, then transfer to an airtight container and top with more olive oil. It can be frozen up to 6 months. But I tell you, it doesn’t last that long in my house.
  5. Now the last step – enjoy delicious, wickedly different Dandelion Pesto!

Serving Suggestion: Dandelion Pesto Linguini with roasted almonds and cilantro flowers.

Dandelion Pesto Linguini with roasted almonds and cilantro flowers

Dandelion Pesto

Storage: The pesto can be refrigerated in a jar for up to four days. The top may darken, which is normal. You can pour a thin layer of olive oil on top to prevent that. It can also be frozen for up to two months.

Ideas for Dandelion Pesto

Spread over pizza with cooked potatoes slices, then baked. -Smeared on crostini over a layer of fresh spreadable cheese.

Use to dress potato salad.

Toss with whole wheat pasta with chicken or roasted vegetables. Reserve a bit of the pasta cooking liquid to help smooth the sauce over the hot noodles. (I add a knob of butter, too, which helps smooth it out. Although pesto purists wouldn’t do that.)

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