Friday, January 15, 2010

Watercress Pesto

Maninas from Maninas: Food Matters is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I've found myself a pleasant bed of Watercress

watercress© by Haalo

Watercress is a perennial herb and part of the Nasturtium family and is known for its peppery flavours. As it ages though these flavours can turn bitter so it's best to use younger specimens. It has high levels of Vitamin C along with Vitamin A, iron, calcium, and folic acid and is thought to help aid digestion.

I source this particular specimen from a hydroponic grower which in the case of watercress makes perfect sense since it is a semi-aquatic plant. These bunches are sold with their root systems intact which help to extent the life of this higher perishable plant.

The recipe I've made helps extend the life of watercress even further by turning it into pesto!

watercress pesto© by Haalo

Watercress Pesto

1 bunch watercress (about 100 grams picked watercress)
2 tablespoons pinenuts (I used Spanish pinenuts, try to avoid Chinese pinenuts)
grated pecorino
sea salt and ground white pepper
sunflower oil (or your favourite neutral flavoured oil)

The beauty of pesto is that it should be made by eye to suit your particular place so all recipes should just be viewed as guides.

I used both the leaves and stems in this pesto as the plant isn't very old - if the stems are thick, give it a taste before using to make sure it's not too strong. Rinse the picked watercress and dry.

Place the watercress into a processor with a drizzle of oil and pulse until roughly chopped. Add in the pinenuts and pulse again until they have are roughly chopped.

Add a heaped tablespoon of grated pecorino and another good drizzle of oil and pulse again until a paste forms - you don't want a smooth mixture so be careful as your process.

Spoon the pesto into a bowl and taste, adjust with salt and pepper and add more grated pecorino and olive oil to form a thick slurry.

It's now ready to use but you can store it in the fridge in a sealed container - make sure you store it under a layer of oil to stop it from discoloration due to oxidation.


  1. The photos are gorgeous!

  2. I have been seeing watercress being used in so many recipes at this time of the year - soups, risotto and now this pesto. Hmm..I think I need to try this at least once :)

  3. Great timing! I have some watercress in my fridge that I bought for something, but I can't remember what for.

  4. This was perfect timing! I had half a bunch of watercress leftover and a whole basil plan I'm slowly killing - i mixed the watercress and basil and it turned out perfect. Yum!

  5. I love watercress, and I'm imagining it as a topping for grilled chicken or fish. Makes me start to long for spring, but it will be a while before we have watercress around here.

  6. Such beautiful photos! I've made watercress pesto before- I love it- watercress is so nutritious and your version sounds great!

  7. I haven't made watercress pesto before - I love the idea!

  8. yum interesting idea, I should grow again watercress!

  9. Thanks Maninas!

    You do Snacks!

    Hope you enjoy it Pam!

    That would be a delicious mix DM!

    Kalyn - It is lovely as an accompaniment to meats, also as a pasta sauce and even in sandwiches

    Thanks Winnie!

    Thanks Erin!

    You should Graziana!


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