Along the Grapevine

Grape Leaf Pesto

5 Comments

If you have wild grape leaves in your area, this is the best time to pick them while they are still tender and unblemished. I collect them in large quantities and those I don’t use immediately, I blanche and freeze for later use. They are particularly useful in pickles and ferments to help keep vegetables crisp while they also add some good flavour, but can be used in many other ways, some of which you will see in related posts below. For identification, uses and nutritional information, click here for my introduction to them.

Long before there was any green on the vines, I began to think what new recipe I could introduce this year, and came up with the idea of a pesto. The first try was a complete success, although I will definitely try it with some variations. For this recipe I mixed it with nettles to make it greener, as by blanching the grape leaves as I did, they tend to turn a kind of olive colour. Other greens could be used according to what you have available, so feel free to use your imagination. I used black walnuts from our area, but regular walnuts are also fine.

I picked very young ones, but when they are mature I recommend removing any of the central stem that looks a bit tough.DSC03525

Grape Leaf Pesto

Grape Leaf Pesto

4 cups grape leaves, loosely packed

1/2 cup stinging nettles

a small bunch, (about 8) mint leaves

1/3 cup walnuts

1 large clove garlic

150 ml olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Blanche the grape leaves and nettles for about 10 seconds. Drain and combine them in a food processor or blender with the other ingredients.

This makes a very flavourful pesto which I have enjoyed on pasta, in sandwiches and on crackers, but my favourite is to use it as a base for pizza, spread on an oven-fresh sourdough pizza crust.

DSC03527

And then add whatever you like.

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Related posts: Wild Grape Leaves; Stuffed Fermented Grape Leaves ; Fermented Wild Grape Leaves; Grape Leaves with Roasted Vegetables; Pickerel in Grape Leaves with Mushroom Za’atar Sauce; Quiche in Wild Grape Leaf Shells; Grape Leaf, Herb and Yogurt Pie.

Linked to: Fiesta Friday #228

Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

5 thoughts on “Grape Leaf Pesto

  1. I need to forage more around here! I love this idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds yummy, I will be on the lookout for wild ones. There are plenty of cultured ones but I am not sure the vineyards would appreciate me foraging them.

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  3. So very interesting! I wonder how grape leaves would taste like!
    Also, I don’t think I’d be able to find any stinging nettles here in India. 😦

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    • Grape leaves have a wonderful flavour, and are often used to wrap meat or vegetable mixtures and then cooked, a bit like cabbage rolls. No need to use nettles. I suggest mixing them with whatever greens you have. Spinach, basil, Swiss chard – any of those kinds of things would work well.

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