Sweet Potato Salad with Nasturtium Pesto Recipe
This sweet potato salad with nasturtium pesto recipe is a delicious hearty salad that utilizes a common plant you may have growing in your garden. The entire nasturtium plant is edible, include the leaves, stems, flowers, and the nasturtium pods, which are leftover after the flower has done its thing. The pods can in fact can be pickled to make a product resembling a caper. The nasturtium plant has a peppery flavor, resembling arugula.
When my friend farmer Sash suggested I make nasturtium pesto for a cooking class I taught at her farm, I was delighted. I had only known the plant for its edible flowers, but had never used the leaves and stems. It turns out it couldn’t be easier! Just give the leaves a quick blanch and shock in ice water, squeeze out extra moisture, and they’re ready to use! I like to make this nasturtium pesto recipe by finely chopping with a knife, instead of in the food processor, because I think the larger pieces of pepitas lend a nice texture to the finished dish.
A delicious and easy way to use a plant you may have growing in your backyard!
- 1½ pounds sweet potatoes
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ cups nasturtium leaves with stems
- 1/2 cup toasted pepitas
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 oz. goat cheese
- Pepitas for Garnish and Nasturtium Flowers for Garnish
Peel and cut sweet potatoes into ½” cubes. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sweet potatoes and salt and cook until sweet potatoes are soft, turning occasionally, about 15-20 minutes. Pour cooked sweet potatoes into a bowl.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil; prepare an ice-water bath and set aside. Add nasturtiums to boiling water; cook for 10 seconds. Transfer to an ice-water bath until cool. Drain and set aside. When cool, squeeze as much water from the nasturtium leaves as you can.
Place blanched squeezed nasturtium, pepitas, and garlic in a pile on a large cutting board. Run a sharp knife back and forth through the pile until finely chopped. Place in a small bowl, fold in cheese, and add olive oil.
Add finished pesto to cooked sweet potatoes in a bowl and stir to combine. Garnish with goat cheese, pepitas, and nasturtium flowers if desired (they are edible too!)
Pesto may also be done in a food processor, end result will be smoother, I prefer the crunch and texture of the cutting board method.