Watercress Pesto

May 12, 2012

The peppery flavor of watercress and its juicy leaves are terrific in pesto. Think peppery, lemony, garlicy goodness together with toasted nuts and punchy parmesan. If you want a quick, crowd-pleasing appetizer or a spread for that grilled tomato sandwich, give watercress pesto a try. You even have the option of drizzling some with added oil on your meat or fish. Pesto is versatile, and since the greens and the garlic remain uncooked, it’s also very healthy.


Yields about 3 cups


• 1 cup pecans (or walnuts)
• 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
• 2 cups packed watercress
• 1 1/2 cup grated parmesan
• 3/4 cup olive oil
• juice of one lemon
• 3 garlic cloves
• salt + ground black pepper

Dry toast the nuts and seeds in a pan, shaking, until they’re ready.
In a food processor, whizz the nuts and seeds until finely shredded.
Add all the other ingredients, and whizz again.
Season with salt and pepper and adjust to desired consistency with olive oil.
Serve with fresh bread.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosemarie May 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm

OMM – oh my mouth! tasty tasty – thanks Bryan for another winner of an idea.


Margaret May 12, 2012 at 10:12 pm

I’ve always loved basil and spinach pesto, but I’ve never made one with watercress or toasted nuts. Sounds and looks yummy.


Katie | Healthnut Foodie May 12, 2012 at 10:57 pm

We love pesto too! I just posted a recipe for radish leaf pesto this week. The watercress looks great! Thanks for sharing. 🙂


Bryan May 13, 2012 at 9:02 am

Thanks Katie, I’ll have to try it with radish leaves!


Karista May 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm

How brilliant! Never thought of making pesto with watercress. I love this and it looks delicious. What a lovely way to use a garden full of watercress.


kale May 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm

This looks perfect for an evening of grignoter!


John Thompson May 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

That’s a great idea using watercress. I find pesto made with all basil to be a bit much and I often replace half of it with parsley. I am thinking spinach might work nicely too…


Madeleine February 8, 2013 at 6:48 pm

I am so glad I got it in my mind that I wanted some zesty pesto for a bruscetta idea. Blizzard Nemo is about to hit and I was menu planning with the hubby. Not only did I find this awesome recipe, but a new wonderful blog to follow! Thank you!


Cindi February 12, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Love this! I have often wanted fresh pesto, only to remember that it’s not growing season; hence, no basil. Rather than buying canned, arsed-up pesto at the grocery store, which always seems to contain *something* undesireable, I went without. Now I don’t have to! 😀


Veronica April 15, 2013 at 5:58 am

Never been a fan of pesto but when I found this I realised it was just that I wasn’t keen on basil. This is a whole new ball game. Soooo tasty. Love watercress. I’m going to try the radish leaf one next!


Lynette Clothier July 4, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Just made this for our monthly dinner with friends this evening. Really great and with french bread and the watercress from our farmers market….delicious and watercress is so good for you…


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