Dandelion is one of my favorite leafy greens at the moment. It's has quite a strong bitter taste, so you will want to make sure to combine it with other leaves in a salad, soup or in this case the pesto. This pesto is so versatile, you will want to make it all summer long. Combine it with pasta, spiralized veggies or use it as a dip for an appetizer.
When using dandelion, make sure the leaves are vibrant and fresh. If they are starting to look slightly wilted, cut off the harder stems on the bottom, as they can get stringy. If you can get your hands on super fresh dandelion leaves, you can keep the stems on for this pesto.
Dandelion leaves are a great liver cleanser. When we often talk about hormone imbalances, high cholesterol levels, or clogged arteries, then we are talking about a clogged liver. Your liver is your gate keeper to everything that goes in and out of your body. It is one of the main detox organs in your body, getting rid of all toxic waste such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals, air pollutants, water pollutants, bacteria, viruses, and so much more. It helps to break down hazardous ingredients in your food, such as colors, preservatives, rancid oils (trans fats), and more, to make sure they don't harm you in any way. And your liver is responsible for breaking down all hormones and cholesterol, and safely escorting them out of the body. Because our lifestyles have become so toxic, our liver is in constant burn out mode. It is working 24/7, and still there is so much garbage clogged in it. We only have one liver, and if we don't take care of it, we will end up with too many toxins in our bodies. These cause inflammation in our organs, our skin, our arteries, everywhere! And inflammation as we now know is the underlying reason for every disease out there such as diabetes and cancer. Taking care of our liver should never be a 3 day cleanse done once a year as a way to make up for all the harm we are doing to it. It should be an ongoing, every day love affair! And dandelion is one of the easiest way to make sure you are taking care of your liver. It cleanses the liver and helps get rid of the built up toxic waste. You can use dandelion leaves in smoothies, soups, salads. You can also use dandelion root (order it here at my favorite supplier), and make an herbal tea out of this to sip on throughout the day. Yes, it may not taste super pleasant, but your liver will forever be grateful to you.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Makes: about 1 cups
1 garlic clove
1 cup basil, tightly packed
½ cup dandelion leaves, tightly packed
½ cup walnuts
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice (or more)
¼ tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
First, combine the walnuts and garlic in a food processor, and pulse to break down into a crumbly texture.
Next, add the basil, dandelion leaves, and salt, and process on high until a paste has formed. The leaves don't need to be completely broken down yet.
Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and lemon juice (if your food processor does not allow this, just dump it all in at once and turn it on), and blend at medium speed for at least 1 minute or more until you have a creamy pesto. You don't want any stringy leaves stuck in the blades.
Finally, season with more lemon juice and salt after you have done the taste test and some freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with spiralized carrots, zucchini, beets, brown rice pasta, cucumber sticks or whatever you like!
Read more about taking care of your liver in the Everyday Detox ebook.