Pesto, Dandelion Pecan

¾ cup unsalted raw pecans (from Moore Farms and Friends)
3 garlic gloves minced

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan

1 bunch dandelion greens (from Woodland Gardens) (about 2 cups, loosely packed)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Black pepper, to tasted

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour the pecans onto a shallow-rimmed baking sheet and roast until just fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
2. Pulse the garlic and pecans together in the bowl of a food processor until very finely chopped.
3. Add parmesan cheese, dandelion greens, and lemon juice and process continuously until combined. Stop the processor every now and again to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The pesto will be very thick and difficult to process after awhile — that’s ok.
4. With the blade running, slowly pour in the olive oil and process until the pesto is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ideas for Dandelion Pesto
• Spread over pizza with cooked potatoes slices (from Hickory Hill Farm), then baked.
• Smeared on crostini (from Star Provisions) over a layer of fresh spreadable cheese (from Decimal Place Farm).
• Use to dress potato salad.
• Toss with pasta (from Storico Fresco), with chicken (from Grass Roots Farm), or roasted vegetables (from Rise -N- Shine Farm).

About Dandelion Greens
Dandelion greens are the most nutritious leafy vegetable that you can buy. The root of the dandelion can be used for medicinal purposes. Its flowers can be harvested for wine. And its greens have a bitterness that can be delicious (plus they’re packed with iron). They are one of the first spring vegetables, they come on even earlier than asparagus, and they make a great spring tonic. Cultivated dandelion greens from the farmers market’s are generally less bitter than the wild ones, but be sure to nibble on a leaf to determine it’s bitterness and gage how much to include in your dish.
Dandelions support digestion, reduce swelling and inflammation, and treat viruses, jaundice, edema, gout, eczema and acne. It is also a wonderful liver cleanser. It is the perfect food for us when we emerge from winter hibernation.
Dandelion greens are excellent in a salad, or strip the stems and use in any cooked dish as you would bok choy or kale. Here is an easy pesto recipe for utilizing some ingredients from Freedom Farmers Market.