When I first made nasturtium pesto I thought I’d had a flash of sheer genius and my name would go down in the culinary annals of history. I was wrong of course, a quick Google brings up any number of variations, but I still think mine is the best! Nasturtium leaves and flowers have a lovely warm peppery flavour and make a fabulous addition to Spring, Summer and Autumn salads as well as giving depth to this pesto sauce. Stir it into pasta or couscous or mix it with a little balsamic vinegar to make a delicious drizzle to pour over risotto, serve with veggie burgers or anything else you fancy!
I grew these beauties from seed last Spring and, thanks to the mild winter, they are still going strong! I love the way nasturtiums climb up and around and along, turning their colourful faces to the light long after most of the summer flowers have gone.
Nasturtium flowers are so pretty just scattered over a salad or sitting atop a luscious lemon cake but, today, it is the leaves which take centre stage. My pesto is simple to make, full of peppery goodness and vegan too! If you want the full nasturtium effect use large leaves as plates topped with a flowery late summer salad, drizzled with leaf pesto!
If you want to grow your own nasturtiums for pretty salads next year this climbing nasturtium ‘Scarlet Munchkin’ from Higgledy Garden looks very tempting to me – the colour is amazing! Once you’ve grown them and enjoyed them, let them go to seed and you can make ‘Poor Man’s Capers’ with them! Also, if you let them drop their seeds, you’ll have a fresh supply of leaves and flowers next year!
- 1 cup tightly packed nasturtium leaves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 large garlic clove - peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Wash and dry the nasturtium leaves
- Toast the pine nuts in a small saucepan over a low heat until just browned
- Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and whizz until smooth
- Spoon into a clean jar
- Keeps in the fridge for about 10 days
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