Zesty Garlic Mustard Pesto

Eating the Invasives: Zesty Garlic Mustard Pesto

If you’ve been for a walk in the woods lately, you may have seen garlic mustard soaking up what little sunshine reaches the forest floor. True to its name, this plant has a strong garlicky, mustardy aroma. As it turns out, these seemingly innocent white flowers are veracious invasive plants. This species is able to colonize forest understories, which makes it a significant threat to biodiversity in regions where it isn’t native. You can help tackle the garlic mustard invasion AND your hungry tummy by harvesting the greens and transforming them into this spicy, garlicky pesto! You’ll need:IMG_1678.JPG

  • About 3 cups of garlic mustard greens
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves
  • Several tbsp. of nutritional yeast
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 3 tbsp. dried (or fresh) basil
  • Oregano
  • Onion powder
  • Thyme
  • ¼ cup raw unsalted cashews
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 box of your favorite eggless pasta

Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the box. Remove the stems and flowers from the garlic mustard, leaving only the leaves. Rinse these thoroughly. Combine the greens, garlic, yeast, cashews, oil, lemon, and spices in a blender and process until smooth. If your pesto is too thick, add small amounts of water until the desired consistency is reached. Season to taste and serve over pasta (this would also make a great sandwich spread!) I topped mine with some extra nutritional yeast and diced tomato. Make sure you dispose of the remaining leaves, stems, flowers, and roots of the garlic mustard in the garbage, not on the compost pile—you don’t want them to invade your backyard! Enjoy 🙂


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