Dandelion Greens Pesto

Dandelion Greens Pesto Sauce, a super simple pesto sauce recipe that uses dandelion leaves instead of basil. Ready in under 10 minutes and freezes well!

dandelion greens pesto in a white bowl with a gold fork on a wood table with fresh dandelion leaves

Love dandelion greens? Put them in a pesto! Great as a topping for vegetables or mixed into salads and soups, this fresh dandelion pesto is a tasty way to try new leafy greens.

👉 Ready to learn how to make pesto from dandelion leaves? Let’s do it!


🌿 Ingredients you’ll need

  • Dandelion leaves: Fresh dandelion greens are the base of this recipe. They provide important vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, and folate.
  • Nuts or seeds: Pine nuts are used in traditional pesto, but you can make it with other varieties of nuts, like cashews or walnuts. You can even make it nut-free with pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds!
  • Cheese (or alternative): Parmesan or pecorino cheeses are traditional, but you can also use a vegan cheese-alternative like nutritional yeast.
  • Olive oil: Adds flavor to pesto and helps maintain its texture so that it doesn’t become too thick.
  • Garlic, salt, and pepper. These are common pesto seasonings that you can adjust to your liking.
  • Optional Ingredients: Balance out the pesto with acid and brighten the flavor with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  • Recommended tools: A food processor or blender, knife set, cutting board, and salad spinner
fresh dandelion leaves on a table with bowls of nuts, oil, cheese, and seasonings for pesto sauce
Ingredients: dandelion greens, nuts or seeds, cheese, garlic, lemon, salt, pepper, oil

🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)

1️⃣ Step One: Wash and prep dandelion greens

Start with washing the dandelion by running it under water or submerging in a bowl of water. Remove any dirt from the leaves, then take it out of the bowl and lay flat on a plate or kitchen towel to dry. You can also use a salad spinner to dry the leaves.

Before making the pesto, remove any remaining hard stems from the dandelion.


2️⃣ Step Two: Blend the dandelion, nuts or seeds, garlic, and oil

Toss the dandelion leaves in a food processor. Add nuts or seeds and garlic cloves, and pulse until finely chopped.

As the ingredients are being blended, slowly drizzle in olive oil and continue to pulse until the chopped ingredients are well coated in oil but not completely smooth (you will want the pesto to be a little chunky)

Slowly drizzle in olive oil while pulsing the ingredients. Pulse until the chopped ingredients are well coated in oil, but still chunky.

dandelion greens inside a food processor with pesto ingredients
Add ingredients to food processor

3️⃣ Step Three: Mix in cheese, spices, and lemon juice

Finish off the pesto by slowly adding cheese or nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Give it a taste and add more seasoning until the pesto is flavored to your liking!

blended dandelion pesto sauce inside a food processor
Blend until smooth

💡 Ideas for serving

There are so many fun ways to enjoy pesto! Here are some ideas for how to serve dandelion pesto:

  • Use as a sauce or spread. Pasta, pizza, bowls, sandwiches – you can’t go wrong with using pesto as your base spread or sauce.
  • Use as veggie dip. Pesto and veggies pair perfectly! You can mix dandelion pesto into hummus or eat it as a dip on a veggie platter.
  • Add to salad dressings. Simply combine pesto with more olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle on salad.
a bowl of dandelion leaves pesto sauce on a wood table with fresh dandelion greens

🧊 How to store

Here are some storage tips for dandelion pesto:

  1. Refrigerator storage: Keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  2. Freezer storage: Store in a sealed freezer-safe container for up to 6 months.

👉 Pro tip: To prevent browning, it is a good idea to drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the surface of pesto before putting it in the refrigerator or freezer. You can add pesto to ice cube trays, freeze, and transfer to a freezer-safe storage bag. Having small amounts on hand are perfect for when you need a quick flavor enhancer!


♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips

Making dandelion pesto is a great way to reduce food waste! Here are some ways to make it even better for the planet:

  • Make it during dandelion season. The growing season for dandelion is late March or early April.
  • Freeze for later! Make a big batch of dandelion pesto when it’s in season, then freeze to enjoy for months to come.
a bowl of green dandelion pesto sauce on a wood table

👉 More pesto sauce recipes

Can’t get enough pesto? Look no further! Try making Chard Pesto Sauce, Dill Pesto Sauce, or even Leftover Celery Leaf Pesto.

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a bowl of dandelion leaves pesto sauce on a wood table with fresh dandelion greens

Dandelion Greens Pesto Sauce

Kristina Todini, RDN
Dandelion Greens Pesto Sauce, a super simple pesto sauce recipe that uses dandelion leaves instead of basil. Ready in under 10 minutes and freezes well!
5 stars (6 ratings)
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Sauces, Dressings + Dips
Cuisine Gluten Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Servings 8 servings
Calories 181 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 food processor

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups dandelion leaves
  • cup pine nuts or pumpkin seeds if nut-free
  • 2 single garlic cloves
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • cup parmesan cheese pecorino, or nutritional yeast if vegan
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice about ½ lemon

Instructions
 

  • Wash and prep dandelion leaves: Start by washing dandelion leaves under running water or submerging them in a bowl of water and shaking them to remove any dirt. Use a salad spinner to dry leaves or lay them flat on a plate or kitchen towel to dry, then chop them into thin pieces.
    2 cups dandelion leaves
  • Blend the dandelion, nuts, garlic, and oil: Toss the cleaned and dried dandelion leaves in a food processor. Next, add nuts or seeds and garlic cloves. Pulse until finely chopped, slowly drizzling in olive oil until the chopped ingredients are well coated in oil but still chunky.
    2 cups dandelion leaves, ⅓ cup pine nuts, 2 single garlic cloves, ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Add seasonings to finish: Finish by adding in the cheese (or nutritional yeast), salt, and pepper. Give the pesto a taste and add more seasonings until it's flavored to your liking.
    ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, 1 pinch salt and pepper, 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Notes

  • Nuts or seeds? Traditional pesto sauce uses pine nuts, but any nuts or seeds are perfect for pesto. We used pumpkin seeds in the photos of this recipe.
  • Tools needed: food processor or blender, knife set, cutting board, salad spinner
  • Prep ahead: Make this simple pesto up to 2-3 days before serving, or freeze until ready to use
  • Leftovers and storage: Leftover pesto should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days, and in the freezer for up to 2 months (possibly longer).
  • Nutrition notes: Nutrition information is an estimate and was calculated with ingredients listed, not optional substitutions. Using other nuts, seeds, cheese, or nutritional yeast will change the nutrition information of this recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 181kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 3gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 80mgPotassium: 95mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.4gVitamin A: 1431IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 77mgIron: 1mg
Keyword dandelion pesto sauce
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