Since my garden is groaning with beautiful fresh green nettles, before I dig them all up and bung them on the compost heap, I’m making as much tea, pesto and soup as I can, because nettles are positively bursting with goodness. This recipe is so easy and you can tailor it to your own needs.

I got inspiration from the River Cottage website (again), they were the inspiration behind the no-oven-bake flapjacks I made last week. In their nettle pesto recipe they use breadcrumbs and cheddar cheese. You could easily use gluten free crumbs and your favourite freefrom cheese but I chose to avoid both of these and go down the seeds route. This is how I made it.

Dairy free, gluten free nettle pesto

Dairy free, gluten free nettle pesto made with lots of seeds

What you’ll need to make nettle pesto

  • Loads of nettles, washed. When the plants are young pick any leaves, but the top cluster are the best, the freshest and the tasiest. Pick the leaves off any stalks.
  • Sunflower, pumpkin, flax, linseeds – your choice and you can add as much or as little as you choose. I used a mixed ready ground variety.
  • 1 x tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil – add more of it looks too dry
  • Clove of garlic (optional) – I used wild garlic, bulbs and leaves from my garden. I tried it before mixing in the garlic and it tastes so lovely, you could easily make it without garlic.

How to make nettle pesto

  • Wear gloves to pick your nettles and choose sheltered spots that don’t have dog walkers and pollution nearby. Choose the top cluster of new shoot leaves but any will do when the plant is young and fresh. Remove all the stalks and wash carefully, removing any bugs!
  • Boil the kettle, fill a pan with nettles and cover with the boiling water.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for just ONE minute.
  • Remove from the heat and drain – remember to keep the nettle water, use a sieve and collect the water in a bowl. It tastes amazing once it’s cooled a bit or drink it cold.
  • Plunge the nettles into cold water and drain well. Press out as much moisture as you can. You could now use these nettles in soup or freeze to use later.
  • Whizz up all the ingredients. I used a mortar and pestle as I don’t have a food blender.
  • Adjust the ingredients so you have a nice smooth paste so add more olive oil if it’s too dry or mix in more seeds if it’s too wet.
  • EAT! with pasta, salad, quinoa etc.

The beauty of this recipe apart from the amazing fresh, zingy delicously juicy taste is that it’s also fantastically healthy for anyone with allergies. It helps to reduce inflammation and can ease symptoms of eczema, asthma, hay fever and allergies. It also contains loads of calcium so get as much of it as you can while it’s green, fresh and plentiful.

Anyone else use nettle in tea or other recipes? Please share your ideas and this recipe so others can enjoy them too.



An allergy and health writer and freelance copywriter, Ruth is passionate about helping those with allergies and food intolerances take control, embrace their condition, and learn to live with and love who they are. It can be very lonely finding you have allergies and discovering what helps you can be a life long journey. What works for one person won't work for another, so after trying nearly every allergy treatment under the sun and finding hours of research necessary to keep abreast of what's going on, Ruth started writing her blog, What Allergy? in April 2009. Ruth has life threatening allergies herself to all nuts, all diary, tomatoes and celery and knows first-hand what it's like to have an anaphylactic attack. Voted in the Top 5 UK allergy blogs by Cision UK in 2011, What Allergy is packed full of interesting articles, hints and tips and product reviews which are a must read for anyone with allergies, food intolerances or sensitivities, asthma and eczema. From subjects such as "What is celery allergy?" to "Surviving a holiday abroad with allergies", it's packed with useful and interesting information. You can register free for a weekly newsletter by visiting her website http://whatallergy.com/ and also keep in touch by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

One Response to Dairy, wheat and gluten free nettle pesto recipe

  1. canary@ health tips for women

    Great recipe!Thanks for sharing!

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