Lockdown Pesto with Flaxseed Oil, Nettle, Wild Garlic & Basil or Whatever You’ve Got

Linseed oil pesto with nettles basil, wild garlic

Real Food Ingredients, Foraging, Adapting Recipes

The other day I was craving pesto and made this.  I didn’t have any olive oil, no pine nuts, no Parmesan cheese or any other sort of cheese and very little basil.  This tasted great and no one noticed it wasn’t “proper” pesto,

With the scarcity and even unavailability of ingredients, not going regularly to the shops means we have to adapt recipes. When we cook from scratch and forage we can use fresher ingredients, which are just wonderful. We find we are thinking about our food more it makes haking healthier decisions naturally easier.

Use What You’ve Got

I am not going to give precise ingredients because if you are short of an ingredient just make it up with something else. If you have a bit extra left over just bung it in and use it up.  It makes cooking quicker than all that faffing around with measuring and weighing and means it is easier to make the right amount for the appetites you are feeding.

No Basil? Be adaptable with the Green Herbs

This time I had just a few basil leaves left on a plant from the supermarket, which was nowhere near enough. I often use ordinary Wild Garlic and/or Stinging Nettles which are always are to hand,  and any remains of suitable bunches of other fresh herbs.

Wild Garlic or Three Cornered Leek

Three cornered leek, Allium triquetrum an alternative to wild garlic
Three cornered leek, Allium triquetrum, an alternative to wild garlic

For the green part of the pesto this time I used another wild member of the onion-garlic family, Three Cornered Leek. That’s what I have growing here and it’s closer than going down to the river for the more conventional Wild Garlic.This pretty little plant is called Allium triquetrum, it tastes like a lightly garlicky leek or spring onion. Most people hate it in gardens because it grows like a weed. I love it for that very reason and it’s edible. It is green for ages in the spring and has delightful flowers. It is one of the few perennial vegetables and it carries on growing brilliantly however bad a gardener you are.

No Extra Virgin Olive Oi? Flax Farm Cold-pressed Linseed (Flaxseed) Oil makes a Great Alternative

Cold-pressed unrefined linseed flax seed oil
Cold-pressed unrefined linseed flaxseed oil

Linseed oil instead of olive oil is a simple substitution. Unlike Olive oil, linseed oil is a great source of omega-3 for the whole family. Its light flavour is popular with everyone and is particularly good with the ingredients in pesto.

No Parmesan Cheese? Nutritional Yeast flakes are the Answer.

Engevita nutritional yeast 125g
Engevita nutritional yeast

Nutritional Yeast is one of the least known, healthiest foods on the planet. It is brim full of B vitamins and contains no saturated fats. It is relatively high in fibre and protein.  Nutritional yeast tastes a lot like Parmesan cheese but without the salt; it’s dairy-free and totally vegan.  If I am using nutritional yeast I put a squeeze of lemon to taste, not sure why but it works.

Pine Nuts? Try Any Other Nut, Sunflower or Pumpkin Seeds

Pine nuts are one of those ingredients it is always hard to have in the cupboard for when you need them. Using mixed nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts or brazil nuts all work fine. If you can’t eat nuts or haven’t got any try sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. The end result with all of them will be slightly different but great.

Quantities and equipment

Go by handfuls and gauge quantities by what works in your blender. I use a mini blender which I think is designed for making baby food. It makes a good four-person helping of pesto.

 

 

Lockdown Nettle, Wild Garlic & Basil or Whatever You've Got Pesto
Servings:2-4peoplePrep Time:5minutesCook Time:
Lockdown Nettle, Wild Garlic & Basil or Whatever You've Got Pesto
Servings:2-4peoplePrep Time:5minutesCook Time:

Ingredients

  • 1-3 cloves of garlic peeled
  • handfuls of herbs I just cram enough mix of Nettles, Wild garlic, Three Cornered Leek , Basil or other herbsinto the blender
  • a good handful of nuts any variety or seed
  • a lemon
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Flax Farm Cold-Pressed Linseed (Flaxseed) Oil or 50/50 mix with olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly milled Black Pepper
Servings: people
Units:

Ingredients

  • 1-3 cloves of garlic peeled
  • handfuls of herbs I just cram enough mix of Nettles, Wild garlic, Three Cornered Leek , Basil or other herbsinto the blender
  • a good handful of nuts any variety or seed
  • a lemon
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Flax Farm Cold-Pressed Linseed (Flaxseed) Oil or 50/50 mix with olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly milled Black Pepper
Servings: people
Units:

Instructions

  1. Rinse off nettles or garlic unter the tap to remove any grit or soil
  2. Place the nuts or seeds and herbs in a blender and add enough oil to get it moving.
  3. When the nuts look granular and the herbs well chopped add about a tablespoon or more of nutritional yeast and a good squeeze of lemon juice.
  4. If it's too thick add more oil.
  5. Adjust the seasoning with a little salt, some god grinds of black pepper and more lemon juice to taste.
  6. Enjoy with pasta, meat, fish, vegetables, potatoes and I particularly like it with butter beans or chickpeas in a salad instead of salad dressing.
  7. Flaxseed Linseed oil pesto with nettles basil, wild garlic

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