Weedy Green Pesto

When dealing with any wild food, it is vital that you never eat anything that you aren’t 100% sure about the correct ID of. The risks are significant, with several plants and fungi growing in Australia known to cause serious bodily harm if ingested, and some even if you just touch them. Check not only that you know for certain that a plant is an edible species, but also that it is free from contaminants.
The Urban Nanna cannot take responsibility for any reader becoming ill after eating wild food.

Late winter & spring brings an abundance of fresh weedy greens & herbs to many gardens. Rather than contaminating your patch with chemical sprays to get rid of them, why not eat the problem? You can obtain a yield by catching & storing the nutritional energy in weeds with this simple recipe.

If you’re new to foraging, you might like to check out some of our identification guides and recipes using invasive weedy plants, which you can find here.

It’s also well worth getting your hands on some of the excellent foraging guides out there so you can really feel confident out in the field. We’ve listed a bunch of these at the bottom of this article for you.


(Makes ~1L)

  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • handful of nuts (your choice)
  • 2tsp salt
  • approx 1kg fresh edible weeds & soft herbs (see Notes below)
  • olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • (optional) 100g parmesan


  1. Pick a mixture of edible weedy greens & herbs. Wash & dry thoroughly.
  2. Blitz garlic, nuts & salt until roughly chopped.
  3. Fill food processor with greens and a good big drizzle of oil. Blitz until reduced by half.
  4. Add more greens & oil. Blitz again until smooth.
  5. Add lemon juice & grated parmesan (if using). Blitz to combine.
  6. Spoon into a jar & top with olive oil to store in the fridge.


  • Many weeds are quite bitter, so including non-bitter greens like basil, parsley or coriander is advised.
  • If you’re new to eating wild foods, introduce them slowly to your diet, as your GI system may take some time to get used to working a little harder as it processes non-cultivated plants.
  • This pesto can last up to 6 weeks in the fridge. If you’ve made masses of it, freeze in ice-cube blocks or jars to use as a nutrient & flavour boost throughout the year.
  • Use this pesto as a dip, sandwich spread, pasta sauce, added to potato or pasta salad, or have a go at make pinwheels using puff pastry schmeared with pesto & dotted with feta.

Permaculture Principle 2: Catch and store energy 3: Obtain a yield 10: Use and value diversity 11: Use edges and value the marginal

Useful resources:

The Weed Forager’s Handbook, Adam Grubb & Annie Raser-Rowland, Hyland House Publishing Pty Ltd, Australia, 2012
The best little book to have on hand whenever you head out. Full of ALL the weedy greens. Particularly suited to Victoria.

Weeds, Brenna Quinlan, Australia 2021.
Fabulous little zine by artist and friend Brenna Quinlan. Great starter resource for beginners and kids. 

Let’s Eat Weeds, Adam Grubb & Annie Raser-Rowland, Scribble, Australia 2021. Fantastic book for beginning foragers, and to get kids involved too. Lots of recipes & illustrations. 

Eat Weeds, Diego Bonetto, Thames & Hudson, Australia 2022.
One of Australia’s best known foragers, Diego has just released this book which promises to be an invaluable guide to becoming a confident forager.  

Wild Food Plants of Australia, Tim Low, Angus & Robertson Publishers, Australia, 1998.
A fantastic guide to an absolute stack of fruiting and flowering plants. Thorough, good distribution maps, good photos, and there’s even a ruler printed in the cover so you can measure your finds to help with IDing them! A must-have for those interested in native foods.

Bush Tukka Guide, Samantha Martin, Hardie Grant Books Guides SBS, Australia, 2014.
Excellent resource on native bush foods. Well worth having, especially if you travel in to the tropical regions of Australia.   

Wildcrafted series, Pascal Baudar, Chelsea Green Publishing, USA.
My FAVOURITE wild food books. 3 out now, 4th is on the way.  

Milkwood: Real skills for down-to-earth living,, Kirsten Bradley & Nick Ritar, Murdoch Books, Australia, 2019.
Written by our dear friends Milkwood Permaculture, this book is like a comforting, encouraging hug. It teaches, guides, calms and nourishes all at once. There are 5 sections on great topics, and one of them is dedicated to wild foods and foraging in south-eastern Australia. So worth owning, and simply wonderful to read.

The Forager’s Calendar, John Wright, Profile Books Ltd, London, 2020.
Although this is a British book and therefore the seasons/months are flipped for what we find here in Australia, the detail covered for each plant entry makes this an invaluable book for the avid forager, as many of our wild foragables are introduced species found originally in Europe. Nice and light for a thick book, which makes it easy to carry with you. 

Profiles to follow on Instagram:@cotswoldforager @eduliswildfood @blackforager @pascalbaudar @theweedyone @melbourneforager – all excellent foragers and lovely people.  

Permaculture Principle 2: Catch & store energy; 3: Obtain a yield; 10: Use and value diversity; 11: Use edges and value the marginal.

If you’re interested in wild foods, you may like some of these recipes and articles: