I was looking for a side dish to go along with scallops I bought today at the Farmer’s Market. Right now, the herbs and edible flowers are busting out in my garden. So, I created (accidentally) a vegan pesto that is amazing!
1 to 1.5 c nasturtiums, flowers and stems
1 c basil leaves
1/4 c fennel fronds, discarding the thicker stems
1 c toasted pinenuts
3/4 – 1 c olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic
1 t salt
Wash all the herbs. Discard the thicker stems from the fennel, remove the leaves from the basil, and clean the stems of the nasturtiums. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Plunge in the nasturtium leaves for 60 seconds. Remove the leaves and place them in an ice bath to stop the cooking.
In a small skillet, toast the pinenuts until they are golden brown, turning often. Remove and cool nuts on a paper towel or plate.
Drain the nasturtium leaves. Add all the herbs, the peeled garlic (begin with two cloves), pinenuts, and 3/4 c olive oil to a blender. Puree the ingredients until smooth. Add additional oil if necessary. Add the salt to taste.
While you could add Parmesan cheese, making this a more traditional pesto, I found that this was quite good without adding any cheese.