Nasturtium Pesto

Peppery Pesto - the great Nasturtium Cull


The wonderful peppery flavour of Nasturtium leaves, works really well in this simple and quick pesto recipe.  This recipe could be adapted for any flavoursome leaf that you fancy.

This is my Tomato bed. I know what you are thinking, you are thinking those aren't tomatoes, and you'd be right! Last years Nasturtiums have self-seeded with such willful abandon that they have totally over-shadowed my poor tomato plants. Today, I decided, was the day for the Great Nasturtium Cull.


My Nasturtium

Nasturtiums are actually fabulous plants. They are ridiculously easy to grow, and you can eat their colourful flowers, leaves and seeds. In addition to its wonderful flavor, the nasturtium plant is a rich source of vitamin C and is reputed to contain an herbal equivalent of penicillin, which helps the body fight off infection. It is also considered a great companion plant. which is why I planted my tomatoes where they had grown last year. This seemed a great plan at the time, it just never occured to me that the nasturtium could grow far quicker than the tomato plants would. Today I decided that I would have to restore the balance, and making a pesto from the resulting casulties, seemed to make the whole cull a little less painful.

yellow nasturtium flower
With a pesto you really can use whatever ingredients you want, or indeed have to hand. I used flaked almonds as I had half a bag lurking from a recipe a couple of weeks ago, and Pecorino cheese which I bought on a whim during Italian week, at a local supermarket. Likewise, quantities are really flexible too, but for the benefit of readers I weighed what I used as I went along, to give you some idea.

Nasturtium Pesto - you will need

130 grams washed Nasturtium leaves
90g Grated Pecorino Cheese
90g flaked Almonds - Toasted
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
150mls Olive Oil
Salt and Peper to taste

Nasturtium leaves are surprisingly fun to wash. They appear to be hydrophobic, in other words they repel water. Consequently you can pull them out of the water, give them the smallest shake, and they are dry. To make the pesto, blitz all the ingredients apart from the cheese in a blender, stir in the cheese, and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Nasturtium Pesto before blending

Nasturtium Pesto - finished


We ate this batch with chicken and pasta. It would also be great with fish, as a dip, or used as a bruschetta topping. This pesto also freezes really well.

Tasty Tuesdays on
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  • Reply Kellie

    Great pesto recipe. I didn’t know about using any leaves.

    May 18, 2016 at 3:55 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Kellie, it has a wonderful peppery flavour. The leaves are great in salads too 🙂

      May 19, 2016 at 6:22 pm
  • Reply HonestMum

    Oh wow delicious, so fresh and healthy. Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays

    July 10, 2015 at 4:29 pm
    • Reply Sarah

      Thanks so much for running the linky – its a great way for us new bloggers to get involved!

      July 10, 2015 at 4:45 pm
  • Reply Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault

    I really must make this as I have nasturtiums taking over my tomatoes in the polytunnel. Pinning so I don’t lose the recipe! #TastyTuesdays

    July 10, 2015 at 4:15 pm
    • Reply Sarah

      It is a perfect dish for this hot weather, really simple and quick. Been admiring your spot in France – looks idyllic!

      July 10, 2015 at 5:40 pm

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