Uh oh, basil: my attention has been caught by another green friend named wood sorrel, and she makes a mighty fine pesto. Okay, sorry. I know that’s weird, but I swear that’s what I was thinking as I enjoyed the last of my wood sorrel pesto for lunch today. I am sure many of you have daydreams/inner dialogues that would make others’ eyebrows raise, and I am secure enough to tell you that mine involved a song, maybe a poem?, from basil, trying to steer my attention back to traditional pesto. And saying that, I know that pesto can be made with so many different herbs and greens: parsley, spinach, garlic scapes (delicious) and arugula are some of the others I know of or have tried. But, when I think of pesto, I think basil, garlic, olive oil– until this week, when my horizons expanded to think of wood sorrel as a fine substitute for the basil.

As I mentioned in the recipe for Wood Sorrel Quiche with Feta, there is a distinct flavor of lemon in bright, delicate wood sorrel. I won’t say this comes shining through in the pesto, but it is a definite, enjoyable flavor note to contrast the sharp spiciness of garlic. Use wood sorrel pesto the same way you would basil (or other) versions of pesto: we had ours for dinner last night with egg pappardelle and asparagus and I ate the small amount remaining for lunch today with wheat berries and a little bit of chevre. If nothing else, wood sorrel pesto is a change of routine and a way to enjoy a tasty green we only get for a few weeks each year.

Wood Sorrel Pesto

  • 3 medium cloves of garlic (or more to taste)
  • 3 packed c. wood sorrel
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3-4 T. olive oil

In a food processor or blender, whir the garlic a few times to mince it and then add the wood sorrel, salt and 2 T. of olive oil. Pulse the mixture, stopping to scrape down the edges a few times with a butter knife or spatula, until the leaves are all chopped. Add the remaining oil a bit at a time until the pesto reaches your desired consistency, and feel free to use even more if you like a wetter/looser sauce. Serve immediately or store in a tightly-closed container in the fridge for up to a week. You can also freeze pesto, though I haven’t ever had enough to try this.