Ack! Mustard Greens!

Marissa     Eats and Drinks         0    

I love most winter greens – kale, collards, arugula, Swiss chard, turnips greens, all that. But mustard greens? I’ve never been a fan. Sure, I can have them sauteed in with a mix but they are by far my least favorite of the bunch. Guess what? Bumper crop of mustard greens this year. Sigh.

Mustard plants growing in the garden

As I’ve done in the past, I challenged myself to come up with new and delicious ways to use this bountiful crop. My beet poppy seed muffins proved to me that seemingly insurmountable odds of turning a vegetable from something hated to loved was possible (my husband can’t stand beets but ate those). My stewed cucumbers proved that vegetables can also be used in ways that we don’t typically expect. Cooked cucumbers? They are delicious. So onto the mustard greens challenge.

I tried several of the usual ways to cook them – sauteed with this or that (bacon fat, butter, olive oil, etc). Not impressed. Still unpleasantly bitter with an acrid bite. Then I stumbled across a recipe for mustard greens pesto. I didn’t even open the link the first time I saw it pop up on a google search. Raw mustard greens? Blech. A few days later, I was curious and decided to try it. I looked at many of the recipes online. They used various nuts – pine nuts, walnuts, pecans, etc. Some used copious amounts of olive oil, some just a scant. And most surprisingly, some used cheese and some DIDN’T. I didn’t know you could make pesto without parmesan. So I came up with what I wanted to try. First attempt NAILED IT. Utterly delicious. Nearly a pound of mustard greens disappeared down our gullets before we knew it.

The recipe is simple (below as well as in our online cookbook) – just five ingredients. I found that I liked to use a mix of mustards – two different mizunas. The green mizuna is very mild, I would even put it on a salad raw. The other – Purple Streaks – is sharp and biting in a pleasant way.

Mustard greens, salt, olive oil, pecans and garlic

The recipe is so simple in fact, that I can hardly take credit for making it. The kitchen elves took over and did all the work for me!


The result is a bright and luscious pesto with lots of powerful vitamins from the greens and good fats from the pecans and olive oil. And without the cheese, you miss out on saturated fats too!

Mustard Greens Pesto

1 cup pecans
6 cloves garlic (crushed)
½ tsp salt
2 bunches mustard greens, large stems removed (about 12 ounces)
½ cups olive oil

Roast the pecans at 400°F for 5-10 minutes until fragrant. Stir once or twice while checking on them. Let them cool while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Add pecans and garlic to a food processor and pulse several times to coarsely chop. Add salt and then the greens. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may only be able to add half the greens at a time. Begin to slowly drizzle in the olive oil while blending constantly. Stop to add greens and pack them down occasionally until you have them all in the container. Continue blending until you reach your desired consistency. Add additional salt as desired (I do like another 1/4 tsp or so but I love salt!)

Delicious bowl of healthy goodness

Here’s another link to the recipe in the cookbook. Enjoy!