Wild Maryland Cookbook​

Butchering Information


DNR Cookbook

Shockingly Green Garlic Mustard Pesto


garlic mustard ​​

Submitted by Rebecca Swerida

Garlic mustard is a really aggressive invasive species found in open woodlands. It’s a real nuisance but at least it’s delicious! Garlic mustard has triangular leaves with obvious veining and an irregular toothed edge and, in the spring, has clusters of white flowers. The whole plant is edible from root to tip. Ideally, harvest the lighter green new growth in the spring while the stems are still tender and flexible and before the flowers bloom.



To make pesto, thoroughly rinse garlic mustard greens and tender stems. Feel free to add the garlic mustard root, wild garlic, wild onions or ramps into this mix if desired. Add greens to boiling water for just 2 or 3 minutes, until the greens are even greener. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and plunge directly into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. This blanching process will take the slightly bitter edge off the flavor. Add garlic, herbs, nuts, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to a food processor and blend to begin creating a paste.

Add the blanched garlic mustard greens and olive oil. Continue to blend, scraping down the sides occasionally until a smooth sauce forms. Add some additional olive oil to loosen up the pesto if desired. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste and enjoy! 


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  • 5 cups packed young garlic mustard greens
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup tender herbs such as parsley, mint or basil
  • ½ cup pine nuts, walnuts or sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Serving Suggestions

Use over pasta, veggies, potatoes, as a dip for crusty bread or whatever you like.

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