High in fibre and nutrients, this bitter greens pesto recipe can help aid in digestion.
Food sovereignty, resilience and security has been long discussed, however medicinal sovereignty is crucial to the health of both humans and ecosystems.
From our own gut microbiota, to the bioregions worldwide, medicinal plants play an essential role in recovery and repair.
Of the estimated 400,000 species of edible plants worldwide, on average most western diets consist of
30 species alone, most of which have been cultivated for modern diets. So not only are we missing out on important nutritional diversity, the types of plants which have been cultivated for our modern diets are heavily lacking in nutrient density.
It is no coincidence that many traditional dishes we consume today use medicinal herbs and spices for flavour – the tastes we are now accustomed to have their roots solidly in herbalism, and for good reason.
Many aromatic spices (cumin, coriander, rosemary, oregano, sage, etc.) have antimicrobial effects and were conventionally used
in cooking to ensure pathogens were kept at bay. These aromatics also have been said to trigger a ‘rest and digest’ state to allow the body to absorb nutrients more easily.
Commonly, bitter greens were used as a side salad before meals to promote digestive enzymes and stomach-acid production. Dandelions, chicory, wild mustard and radicchio were frequently incorporated into cuisine in the Mediterranean basin, the bitter compounds preparing our digestive tracts for richer and heavier foods.
We see consistently in cultures from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and India, the use of warming aromatics after meals, such as cardamon, coffee, rose, fennel, liquorice, star anise and nutmeg to name a few.
Bitter greens pesto recipe
- 2 handfuls of greens (dandelion, chickweed, nettle, sow thistle, wild brassica, etc.)
- 1.5 cups olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp savoury yeast flakes
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper or chilli
- 1⁄2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1⁄2 cup pumpkin seeds
Wash the greens thoroughly, place in a blender with all other ingredients except the seeds and pulse lightly. Add the seeds and blend until seeds are broken up, ensure to retain a rough pesto texture. The pesto will keep for two weeks in the fridge, but to increase shelf life add more olive oil.