Recipe: Nettle Walnut Pesto

Last weekend I found stinging nettles in my neighbourhood market for the first time this year. To me that is the sign of spring. I bought a bag and made my favorite nettle pesto. It is super easy to make and completely vegan.

Here is how I do it.


  • a bag fresh stinging nettles
  • a handful of walnuts, halved and toasted
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • High quality olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pasta of your choice


  1. Bring a pot of salt water to a boil.
  2. Use the tong to load the nettles into the pot and let it boil for 4-5 minutes. Save the water.
  3. Remove the nettles from the pot and shock them in ice water.
  4. Drain and squeeze the nettles to remove as much water as possible.
  5. In a food processor, chop the walnuts and garlic for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add nettles, half of the olive oil and salt
  7. With the motor running, slowly drizzle the remaining olive oil into the mixture.
  8. Cook the pasta in the nettle water preserved in step 2, until al dente. Leave the cooking water on the side.
  9. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with pesto sauce, gradually ladle in pasta water and mix until the sauce evenly adheres to the noodles. Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary.


I also like to use this sauce on fish such as salmon in this recipe of Pan Seared Salmon with Nettle Pesto. One more month before the first batch of Copper River Salmon arrives. Yippee! 🙂

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