Easy to grow, there’s really no excuse not to have a patch of warrigal greens in your permaculture garden. Here’s a delicious warrigal greens and macadamia pesto recipe to try!
Warrigal greens (Tetragonia teragoniodes) is a trailing leafy groundcover native to Australia, Eastern Asia and New Zealand – hence its other name, New Zealand spinach.
In Europe it is now an invasive species, which belies its historical use as a great source of vitamin C for scurvy-riddled sailors and settlers during colonisation.
Warrigal greens is now grown commercially in Australia and is marketed as a bush food in restaurants and cafes.
Foraging for warrigal greens
You can find this salt-tolerant plant along the coastline growing at the edge of sand dunes. Look under trees such as Norfolk pines or melaleucas for patches or spreading clumps. If you’re further inland, you may find warrigal greens along waterways or on the edge of degraded land.
As with all native plants, only take what you need: either enough for a meal or to replant at home. Avoid foraging from public areas that may have been sprayed with chemicals.
Growing warrigal greens
Easy to grow, with no significant pests or diseases (slugs and snails don’t even eat it!), there’s really no excuse not to have a patch of warrigal greens in your permaculture garden.
Capable of thriving in hot and dry conditions, it may well be the type of plant we all need to move towards in times of changing climate.
Simple to propagate, warrigal greens can be pulled out of the ground, roots and all, and replanted in its new position, then watered in.
Even though it’s a hardy plant, it responds well to fertilising, mulching and watering by growing even bigger leaves. It can also be grown in pots.
Eating warrigal greens
Warrigal greens is an excellent substitute for spinach, however, like spinach, it contains oxalates and must be blanched before use to reduce the acid content. The leaves are a good source of vitamins A, B and C, as well as magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
Add to any dish the same way you would use silverbeet and spinach. Blanched and chilled, it makes a delectable salad or cold side dish, especially with a serve of macadamia cream.
Warrigal Greens & Macadamia Pesto Recipe
- 1 cup warrigal greens
- 1⁄2 cup macadamia nuts
- 1⁄2 cup oil (ideally macadamia or olive)
- 1 lime
Remove the leaves from the warrigal greens. Place leaves in a heat-tolerant bowl and pour boiling water over them.
Let stand for two to three minutes. Strain leaves and rinse immediately with cold water to prevent overcooking.
Blend warrigal greens and set aside. Blend nuts, oil and lime to a smooth paste, gradually adding warrigal greens.
Serve with your favourite pasta, added to salad, or use as a garnishing sauce for grilled or BBQ meats, fish or tofu.