Wild pesto

Transform your foraging finds into a tangy sauce with Parmesan, garlic, lemon and pine nuts – use fresh young nettles or wild garlic leaves

  • Prep:15 mins
    Cook:2 mins
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 65
  • fat 7g
  • saturates 1g
  • carbs 0g
  • sugars 0g
  • fibre 0g
  • protein 1g
  • salt 0g


  • 150g young nettle or wild garlic leaves, or a mixture (foraged - see tip)
  • 50g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • zest ½ lemon and a good few squeezes of juice
  • 50g pine nuts, toasted
  • 150ml rapeseed oil


Barney’s foraging rules

Take a pocket guidebook, and check it before picking anything. Make sure that it is legal to forage in a public area or that you have the landowner’s permission. Use all your senses to identify the plants you are looking for; it may look similar to wild garlic but if it doesn’t smell of garlic – don’t eat it! Never pick leaves next to busy roads or lanes, or low down, where dogs are regularly walked. If foraging for stinging nettles, wear gloves when picking and make sure to cook properly.


  1. If you are making this pesto with nettles, first bring a large pan of water to the boil, then drop in the nettles and cook for 2 mins. Drain and run under cold water, then squeeze out as much water as possible and roughly chop them.

  2. Put the prepared nettles and/or raw wild garlic in the small bowl of a food processor, along with the Parmesan, garlic, lemon zest and pine nuts. Blitz to a rough paste. Season, and with the motor running slowly, add almost all the oil. Taste, season and add a few good squeezes of lemon juice. Transfer the pesto to a clean jar and top with the remaining oil. Will keep for two weeks.

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