Precious Pesto

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth...to you it shall be for meat.”
Genesis 1:29 (KJV)

Pesto is such a wonderful way to enjoy the taste of spring.  It is so versatile and can be incorporated into a wide variety of meals with meats, fish, eggs, chips, pasta, vegetables, crackers, bread, soups, mashed potatoes or mixed in with avocado for a dip.  Most people are familiar with the delicious basil pesto that Italians put on pasta.  But, did you know that you can make pesto out of any combination of herbs and spices?  In an effort to expand the quantity and variety of herbs in my diet, I have compiled a variety of unusual pesto recipes.

Surprisingly, some of the edible greens which have the highest nutritional profiles are actually considered “weeds”.  Unfortunately, a great deal of money is spent (as well as toxic chemicals sprayed) to eradicate them when we could just eat them.  The recipes that follow contain just a few of the “herbs bearing seed which are upon the face of the earth.”  Hopefully, you can relax about fighting them in your yard and start feeding them to your family instead.  Just make sure these plants are growing in an area not near a road that hasn’t been sprayed with any pesticides or pooped on by a pet.1

Last fall I identified some common edible weeds in various places in my yard and when they went to seed, I gathered them and sprinkled them right in a garden bed that I didn’t want to plant this year.  Now I have a no effort crop of these tasty edible “weeds” right at my fingertips.  For those of you reading who are not as brave or just too busy to explore your yard for potential food, the first recipe I share uses common cilantro that’s usually well stocked on grocery store shelves.

This recipe is near and dear to my heart, since I have been using it medicinally on my son that has recently tested high for mercury.  At the same time we became aware of lead paint hazards in our home (built in the 1930's) that he was playing near and his doctor suspected had become a toxic exposure for him.  Heavy metal poisoning can cause hormonal imbalances, cancer, thyroid problems, neurological disturbances, learning problems, depression, food allergies, parasites and skin problems.  My sweet, tender-hearted little boy started to become very moody, easily upset and experienced digestive issues, trouble with learning and poor memory.  If you are dealing with behavioral issues with your child, despite a loving home and practicing biblical training, you should consider heavy metal toxicity (particularly mercury and lead) to be a possible significant factor.  Studies have shown a significant link between elevated blood lead levels in children and future crime arrests. (www.naturalnews.com)

Luckily, cilantro, or chinese parsley, is a potent metal detoxifier.  It can help with the excretion of mercury, lead, and aluminum from even the central nervous sytem in the body.  Combined with the benefits of the other ingredients in the following recipe, this delicious food is a powerful tissue cleanser.  The suggested dose of 2-3 teaspoons a day for two weeks is purportedly enough to increase the urinary excretion of mercury, lead, and aluminum, thus effectively removing these toxic metals from our bodies.  Now that’s some good medicine.  Thankfully, my son is doing much better since we started giving him cilantro and some other natural supplements.

Cilantro Pesto

2 cups fresh cilantro including stems (vitamin A)
2/3 cup flaxseed oil (sold in dark refrigerated bottle)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup almonds or cashews
1/2 cup Brazil nuts (selenium)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (cysteine)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (zinc, magnesium)
4 tablespoons lemon juice (vitamin C)

2 tsp nutritional yeast (for dairy free option) or 1/2 cup parmesean cheese
2 tsp dulse or seaweed (like kelp)
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp algae (like broken cell chlorella)
Sea salt to taste

Cilantro PestoPulse the cilantro and flaxseed oil in a blender or food processor for 1 minute.  Add the garlic, nuts and seeds, dulse, algae and lemon juice and mix until the mixture is finely blended into a paste.  Add a pinch of sea salt to taste and blend again.  Store in dark glass jars if possible.  It freezes well, so you can purchase cilantro in season and fill enough jars to last through the year.  (naturalfarmacy.com)


Chickweed Pesto

Chickweed is high in vitamin C, calcium, and iron as well as many other important minerals.  It is also very nourishing for the lungs.  Eating chickweed thins the membranes of your cells so that nutrients are more readily absorbed and utilized.  Chickweed can also be used topically for skin eruptions, hemorrhoids, cuts, wounds, burns, etc.. (www.learningherbs.com)

2 packed cups chopped fresh chickweed
½ cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
3 Tablespoons of pine nuts or sunflower seeds
½ cup Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. salt

Process in a blender or food processor as described above in the cilantro pesto recipe.

Purslane Pesto

Purslane was reportedly Gahndi’s favorite food.  It looks a lot like a succulent houseplant but generally is classified as a weed.  Purslane's thick leaves taste pleasantly grassy and slightly bitter.  Purslane has more beta-carotene than spinach, alpha linolenic acid (a type of omega-3 fatty acid) as well as high levels of magnesium and potassium.  Historically it has been used as a remedy for arthritis and inflammation by European cultures and in respiratory and circulatory function by Chinese herbalists. (chubbyvegetarian.blogspot.com)

1 bunch of purslane, stems removed
1/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup walnuts
juice from half a lemon
2 tsp. honey
sea salt and pepper to taste

Process in a blender or food processor as described above in the cilantro pesto recipe.

Lambsquarter Pesto

Lambsquarter is also known as wild spinach, goosefoot or pigweed.  It tastes like spinach but is even more nutritious.  It is a good source of niacin, folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and a very good source of fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, Thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese. (nutritiondata.self.com)

2 cups fresh lambsquarters leaves (stems removed)
2 cups fresh basil or wild arugula leaves
1/2 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
2 T fresh garlic
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup pine nuts or pecans
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)

Process in a blender or food processor as described above in the cilantro pesto recipe.

I recently learned an amazing story about Anne Wigmore, the famous naturopathic doctor and founder of the Hippocrates Health Institute.  She championed the health benefits of wheatgrass and other green juices and is the reason you see those beautiful trays of green grass at juice/smoothie bars and health food stores everywhere today.  Well, her inspiration for educating people of the benefits of these types of juices came from her experience as a child in Lithuania during World War I.  She was abandoned by her parents, in the midst of a bloody warfare in her village.  Food was hard to find because soldiers looted gardens and farms.  She and her grandmother survived for two years mostly by consuming weeds and grasses.  She finally escaped to the U.S. and found work in a bakery, where she eagerly consumed the baked delicacies.  Her health diminished greatly on that diet and so she returned to what she had learned years before using herbs to completely heal herself of colon cancer.  Wow to the wonderful power of herbs...and that’s just a small demonstration in the natural world of God’s big power.  How much greater is “His power toward us who believe?2

1 You should always consult an herb identification guide and/or an experienced herbalist before eating foraged plants that are new to you.

2 Ephesians 1:17-21