Greek Lamb’s Quarters (Chenopodium berlandieri) Pesto

So as to not disappoint you, my readers, let me say right up front – this post is not about juicy roasted lamb legs drizzled with earthy pesto sauce, though that sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it?

This post is about a weed.

That’s right, a common plant found all over the world, that many people pull out of their gardens and dump in the trash.

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If they only knew what they were missing out on! Lamb’s Quarters (scientifically known as Chenopodium berlandieri and also called goosefoot, fat-hen, bacon weed, pigweed and many other unappetizing names) is from the same genus as quinoa and beats spinach as a source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin C and vitamin A. It also contains B1, B2 and oxalic acid (Source: Lambsquarters: Prince of Wild Greens The leaves are tender, like spinach, and mild, but it doesn’t leave that chalky feeling in your mouth like spinach does. However, underneath the leaves it looks rather like it’s dusted with vitamin C powder.

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Mom has a lot of this green growing in and around her garden and gathered a bunch of it for me. It’s easy to use because you can replace it with spinach in anything from smoothies and salads to creamed dishes and sauces.

I decided on a pesto to go with last night’s Mediterranean Couscous Salad.

Greek Lamb’s Quarters Pesto

  • 6 c. loosely packed lamb’s quarters
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 oz. Parmesan, grated or sliced
  • 1 oz. feta cheese (My favorite? Double Cream Mykono’s Feta made by Central Valley Creamery)
  • 1/4 -1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
  • 2 fresh sprigs Greek oregano and 2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed from stems

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Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Lamb’s quarters is drier than basil so you may need more olive oil if you like a finer consistency.

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There’s some great information to glean from the internet about Lamb’s Quarters. I found this video by Eat The Weeds that would be helpful if you want to find your own greens. I had to bookmark his site as it looks like it will be a very helpful reference on gathering wild edibles.

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Enjoy your pesto on pita bread (or Sourdough) with cream cheese, or toss it into warm, buttery pasta. Oh, and it’d also be amazing as a sauce to drizzle over a roasted leg of lamb! ;)

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Taste of Europe Series: Tuscany – Basil Pesto

~basil~
Two of my favorite things from our summer garden are basil and tomatoes. I’m completely thrilled that both are abundant at the moment. The possibilities are endless with such  fabulous pairings of flavor.

Tuscany – Vineyards

Anna and I tried pesto with pasta in Italy – after all, how could we not? I’m afraid that it wasn’t as big of a deal to me as it should have been since pesto at home is a staple, sometimes lasting through the winter. There’s not much that can beat that! …Except for being in Italy, of course!
This recipe is simple and easy. The ingredients can be happily increased or decreased to suit one’s tastes without any ill effects on the finished product.
Basil Pesto
4 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 – 1/2 cup nuts – pine, walnut or pecan
2 cloves garlic, peeled
5 oz. Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
A food processor makes this job a breeze, but a blender is a fair option. I believe it was traditionally made with a mortar and pestle. Wow! I haven’t been that industrious yet.
Place the basil in the processor and add…
nuts
garlic
Parmesan cheese
I just break my cheese into bits, as you can see…
And start blending!
Some like it chunky…
Some like it…less chunky.
This is how we like ours.
Pesto browns very quickly, so the best way to keep it fresh is to flatten the top with a spoon and seal it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to a week. Freeze for several months in an airtight container.
Use on pizzas, in panini sandwiches, on pasta, with cream cheese on baguette slices, in pastries…need I go on?
Just enjoy!