The pungent leaves of wild garlic mustard are quite tasty if harvested before the flowers begin to go to seed pods. I had read they make a good pesto, but I was unsure if the flavor would appeal to my family. So, I decided to dilute the mustard with mild flavored baby spinach, which was abundant in the garden at the time. And guess what? We all liked it! So next spring, I hope you forage for garlic mustard yourself, and try this garlic mustard pesto with baby spinach.
The recipe below is exactly how I made it. To balance the strong flavor of garlic mustard, I chose a mild cheese and a mild nut. I also used less garlic than I use for basil pesto. But garlic mustard isn’t as strongly flavored as I expected, and this pesto is rather mild, so next time I will make it a little stronger. I’ll probably try one or more of the following:
- More garlic mustard and less spinach
- An additional clove of garlic
- A stronger cheese, such as Romano, which I usually use for basil pesto.
So feel free to customize this to your own taste buds!
You will need a blender or food processor. We love our: Cuisinart FP-14DC Elite Collection 14-Cup Food Processor, Die Cast
Garlic mustard pesto with baby spinach
Makes a little more than 1 cup, enough for 1 pound of pasta
- 1 cup loosely packed leaves of garlic mustard, harvested before flowers begin to form pods
- 1 cup loosely packed baby spinach
- 1/4 cup pecans (or pine nuts or other nuts of your choice)
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth, pushing down the leaves as necessary. (We used it immediately, but I suspect you could refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze.)