Bowl of pesto Photo Credit: Tamara Green

Stinging Nettle Pesto Recipe by Tamara Green

September 20, 2021

Tamara Green, chef, instructor, owner of Indigenesis, and this year’s Creative in Residence, is back with another foraging video. This time, she will teach us how to make a stinging nettle pesto. This recipe is one of the reasons Tamara started exploring pre-colonial cuisine. It is gluten-free, soy-free, and made without dairy. She describes the pesto as having, “A rich umami, refreshing citrus notes and robust spinach-like stinging nettle, full of early summer flare. The pesto is delicious on steaks, crackers or with roasted vegetables.”

In this video, Tamara reminds viewers that sustainable foraging is the act of pruning nature. It’s important to selectively choose the leaves and buds that are fully grown or on the verge of falling off the plant. If a cut must be made, it must be done in a way that encourages healthy regrowth.

Always stay safe while foraging, but be extra vigilant while harvesting stinging nettle, as it can cause a rash. Tamara explains, “Stinging nettle carries a huge stigma with it. I hoped to both dispel some myths about getting stung and educate people on how to forage and cook with it safely because nettle is a wonderful source of nutrition.” Check out Tamara’s safety tips as well as the full recipe below:

Safety tips

  • Wear gloves and long sleeves.
  • If you don’t have long sleeves or long gloves, wrap your arms in plastic wrap.



  • 1 large bowl stinging nettle leaves
  • 6 ramp bulbs
  • 1/4 cup spruce tips
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 – 1 cup pumpkin seed oil, or a neutral oil will work too
  • salt to taste


  1. Wash stinging nettle, rinsing off any extra dirt.
  2. Boil stunning nettle in heavily salted water for about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Roughly chop wild ramp roots.
  4. Lightly chop spruce tips.
  5. Throw in chopped spruce tips into the boiling water at the last second, before draining the water.
  6. Squeeze excess water out of the boiled stinging nettle.
  7. Transfer stunning nettle, spruce tips, and wild ramp roots into the food processor.
  8. Add sunflower seeds.
  9. Add a quarter of a cup of oil to start.
  10. Begin processing the mixture, while slowly adding in more oil.
  11. Pulse until it turns into a puree.
  12. Add salt to taste.

Check out our full list of 2021 Creatives in Residence.