Recipe – Spicy Mustard Green Pesto

Mustard Green Pesto pizza

Mustard Green Pesto pizza

Considering the fact that my first recipe posted a few weeks ago was for broccoli pesto, you’d think I shouldn’t be posting about pesto again so soon.   You’d be wrong.  The thing is that I love it (see that post), and I find it a versatile substance, which is especially true since you can make it out of basically any vegetable.  Basil, asparagus, broccoli, and in this case…mustard greens.

No, I’m not the kind of person who goes into the market and says “YES – mustard greens!  I was waiting for those to come in!”  Instead, a while back the boy and I signed up for a CSA, and each week they deliver a bag of vegetables to our home.  Sometimes we are good at using up the food that they give us.  Other times, it is a challenge.  My general strategy is to roast as much of it as I can because that tends to taste good, and be an easy thing to do without worrying about “is this the most creative use of my Japanese Sweet Potato?”  The answer is no, but I know that roasting that sweet potato will be delicious and something I don’t need to get additional ingredients to do.

The CSA is also pretty good about including a list of recipes in their weekly email about what’s coming to give you ideas about what to do with your fruit and veg.  Most of the time I ignore those recipes because they are a little ridiculous, and involve going to get too many additional ingredients.  The point of the CSA is to reduce my shopping time, right?  In any case, the week we were getting the mustard greens I scrolled down to see the suggested recipes, and there it was – spicy mustard green pesto.  I cannot resist, and after checking the pantry, discovered that I had all the ingredients already.  No excuses, Keller.

The most frustrating part of this recipe was that my food processor is much too small (I got it long ago from someone who had been using it to make small batches of baby food), and it’s hard to fit a large bunch of greens in a 4 cup vessel all at once, and to blend those greens with the other ingredients.  I may have cried.  But taking my time, adding the greens bit by bit and scraping the sides with my little spatula helped a lot.

In the end, I had a large batch of super yummy pesto.  I put the main blob in a jar in the fridge for immediate use.  The rest I scooped out by tablespoons and dropped on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper and froze them.  Once frozen, I put all those little drops of pesto in a plastic bag and kept them in the freezer, ready to pull out and defrost at a moments notice.  The main uses have been pasta and pizza, and I don’t care.  They were delicious and awesome, and it made me feel good to use up the vegetables that we bought – even if we didn’t choose them ourselves.

This recipe will yield more than you can use at one meal.  When adding it to a dish like pizza dough or cooked pasta, I recommend adding it in a tablespoon or so at a time.  As much as I hate to admit it, you can have too much sauce and not enough vehicle for the sauce.


Spicy Mustard Green Pesto

Yield: 2 1/2 cups


1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
6 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 bunches mustard greens (trimmed and chopped)
1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil


Toss pecans, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds into a bowl, and cover them by 2 inches with warm water. Allow them to soak for 4 to 6 hours, drain and rinse well. If you’re in a bind, you can substitute sprouted or roasted nuts and seeds.

Place soaked pecans, pumpkin and sunflower seeds and garlic into your food processor. Pulse 3 to 4 times until just combined. Toss in mustard greens and sea salt and pulse for a few seconds.

Turn the food processor on and slowly drizzle olive oil into the seeds and greens until it forms a smooth and uniform paste.

Serve immediately or transfer to mason jars, cap with additional olive oil and refrigerate for up to a month.

From: Nourished Kitchen

PS – for the pizza, I used a Trader Joe’s whole wheat crust, spread on the pesto, then sprinkled with mozzarella and feta cheeses, baked for about 12 minutes.  A little chewier than crunchy, but yum!

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