Different Types of Wild Greens with Pesto Recipe

Add zest to salads and pesto by using wild greens found in your backyard.

| January 2018

The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), by Sean Sherman and Beth Dooley introduces readers to modern cuisine of the Dakota and Minnesota territories. The book shares award-winning recipes that embrace locally sourced and seasonal, "clean" ingredients. The following excerpt is from Chapter 1, "Fields and Gardens."

We've become so accustomed to ridding our gardens and lawns of dandelion greens, purslane, plantain, and other wild greens that we've forgotten they are good food. Although it's unclear if dandelions, purslane, and plantain are indigenous, there is some evidence that they may have reached North America in the pre-Columbian era, suggesting that these plants were already being eaten by Native Americans before Europeans arrived. Add wood sorrel, watercress, lamb's quarters, miner's lettuce, clover, and garlic mustard that grow wild in backyards, fields, and the borders of forests, and you have a great salad mix — delicious and loaded with vitamins. Instead of trying to eradicate these plants in our lawns, we can just eat them up!

Wild Greens Glossary

Amaranth: The entire amaranth plant is edible — its tiny shoots, the green leaves, stems, seeds, and roots. When harvested young, they add zip to salads and pesto and make a lively garnish for soups.

Chickweed: Early in the season, the entire plant is still tender and bright tasting, so we use it all in salads and pesto. Early in the season the leaves are mild, succulent, and delicate, then they grow bitter as the months progress.

Clover: Clover is the first green to appear in the spring and tastiest when it's enjoyed early on. As the season progresses, it becomes bitter.

Dandelion: This is our favorite spring green — lively and peppery, great in salads and wonderful in pesto. We often chop it to garnish soups and light stews. The entire plant is edible, so don't hesitate to use the pretty yellow flowers for garnish; when they first bloom, their flavor is mild and almost sweet.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!


Subscribe today

Heirloom GardenerCultivate your love of historic plant varieties and traditional recipes with a subscription to Heirloom Gardener magazine today!

Don’t miss a single issue of Heirloom Gardener. Published by the editors of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Heirloom Gardener provides decades of organic gardening experience from the most trusted voices in the field. Subscribe today and save as much as 38% off the newsstand price! Get one year (4 issues) for only $24.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube

Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265