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Nettle Pesto


100g (4 oz) nettle tops (thin stalks included)

20g (1 oz) strong nutty cheese, grated

2 to 3 garlic cloves, crushed (or 2 to 3 spring onions)

150ml to 200ml Ownsworth’s Rapeseed Oil

salt and pepper



Wearing gloves, or using tongs, collect the young tops of stinging nettles.  Include the thin stalks. 

Thoroughly wash and discard any thick or yellowed leaves.  Fill a bowl with iced water or water as cold as you can run from the kitchen tap.

Into a saucepan of boiling water, carefully push all the nettles in using a wooden spoon, completely submerging them.  Blanch for just one minute.  Remove and plunge the nettles into the iced/cold water for a further one minute.

The nettles will not sting now as they have been cooked.  Squeeze the nettles dry in a clean tea-towel and chop finely when cool.

Into a pestle and mortar, add crushed garlic or spring onions which have been finely chopped.

Now add the chopped nettles and grated cheese.  Mash everything together with the pestle to combine all the ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper. 


Now start adding the rapeseed oil in a drizzle, again mashing everything together to make a lovely green paste.

If you are using this nettle pesto for a toast topping use around 150ml of the rapeseed oil.  If you are stirring the pesto into cooked pasta use around 200ml of the rapeseed oil.  You can of course add 2 tablespoons of toasted hazlenuts to the recipe if you like, with the garlic or spring onions.



  • Toast slices of thick cut crusty bloomer and spread over the cold pesto for a delicious snack

  • Spread over little crustinis, top with Lincolnshire chine/diced roast root vegetables


  • Stir through cooked, drained spaghetti.  Add shavings of your nutty cheese for a simple supper


  • Drizzle over homemade soups or stews.