Sorrel Pesto, Bright, Citrusy, Delicious And Easy

Sorrel Pesto, Bright, Citrusy, Delicious And Easy
Easy Sorrel Pesto From West Coast Kitchen Garden
Easy Sorrel Pesto From West Coast Kitchen Garden

One of the big perks of living on Canada’s West Coast is our mild winters. We are well into November now and my sorrel is staging a comeback after the heat and dryness of the summer had decimated it.  I thought I better use it now though, before we start getting heavy frost and finally got around to making sorrel pesto which had been on my mind last spring.

Sorrel Growing On Vancouver Island
Sorrel Growing On Vancouver Island

Sorrel is fresh and very lemony in flavour, in fact my daughter calls it lemon leaf and loves to pick leaves to snack on while out in the garden.  It is an extremely easy and low maintenance herb to grow, some might call it a weed, but it is a lovely addition to a kitchen garden because it is hearty, one of the first plants to start growing in the spring and one of the last to keep producing in the fall as well as a fantastic vitamin and fiber powerhouse.  Plant your sorrel in a spot it can stay and it will come back for you each year, this plant doesn’t take up too much space, mine takes up approximately one square foot. I used a lot of it this year in salads and sauces and so I decided to let mine go to seed this summer in hopes of having a few more plants next spring.

Parmesan Hazelnuts And Sorrel For Pesto
Parmesan Hazelnuts And Sorrel For Pesto

There are many ways to use this lovely herb and if you google recipes you’ll find many are from northern Europe where it is a very common ingredient.  Popular recipes include sorrel sauce with salmon which I have made and sorrel soup both of which are French recipes but I personally prefer it raw so that it retains it’s bright citrus flavor.  Used in mixed salads, it adds a very bright fresh note and used in pesto it is lighter and milder than basil.  Once cooked it loses much of it’s bright flavour and can sometimes be a little on the bitter side.

Making Sorrel Pesto With A Mortar And Pestle
Making Sorrel Pesto With A Mortar And Pestle

For my sorrel pesto, I decided to use local hazelnuts as the base.  They are so delicious and fresh here right now and a relatively soft nut that can be crushed or ground into a nice paste consistency but you could certainly use another soft mild nut like cashews or pine nuts.

Local Vancouver Island Hazelnuts
Local Vancouver Island Hazelnuts

To highlight the lemon flavour, I added lemon zest and then added a cup of grated Parmesan cheese to help bind it all together and give that melty, creamy consistency when spooned over hot pasta.

West Coast Sorrel Pesto
West Coast Sorrel Pesto

My family gave the thumbs up that this is a keeper and one big advantage over classic pesto with pine nuts and basil is that this is really economical to make.  I hope you get a chance to try this and if you don’t already have sorrel growing in your garden, I highly recommend planting it next spring. (Click here for my favourite, West Coast Seeds)

Fettuccine With Sorrel Pesto
Fettuccine With Sorrel Pesto
Easy Vegetarian Sorrel Pesto With Hazelnuts And Parmesan Cheese
5 from 10 votes
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Sorrel And Hazelnut Pesto

Delicious and so easy, this is a bright lemony version of the classic made with sorrel from the garden or farmer's market and local hazelnuts. Quick to whip up in your food processor. 

Course Condiment, Dinner, Main, Sauce
Cuisine canadian, Italian, PNW, West Coast
Keyword Hazelnuts, Pasta Sauce, Pesto, Sorrel
Prep Time 15 minutes
Author Sabrina Currie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c Hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 2 c Sorrel Leaves
  • 1/2 c Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Lemon Zest
  • 1 c Parmesan, Grated 100 grams/3 oz

Instructions

  1. In food processor (or with mortar and pestle if you feel like it and have the extra time) process the hazelnuts and salt until the nuts are very finely ground.  Add the garlic and process again until it is uniform with the nuts. 

    Parmesan Hazelnuts And Sorrel For Pesto
  2. Add the sorrel, about 1/2 cup at a time, when it gets too thick to process, start adding the oil slowly, alternating with the remaining sorrel until all incorporated.  

    Making Sorrel Pesto With A Mortar And Pestle
  3. Stir in the lemon zest and grated parmesan and season to taste with salt.

    Lemon Zest In Sorrel Pesto
  4. Serve with hot pasta like fettuccine or pappardelle or as a condiment with some grilled or poached fish or chicken.


    Grated Parmesan Cheese Makes Pesto Deliciously Creamy
  5. Another delicious option (or use your leftovers) is as a spread on bruschetta and topped with sliced cherry tomatoes. 
    West Coast Sorrel Pesto
Easy Vegetarian Sorrel And Hazelnut Pesto
Easy Vegetarian Sorrel And Hazelnut Pesto

 

Sorrel Pesto With Hazelnuts And Parmesan
Sorrel Pesto With Hazelnuts And Parmesan


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28 thoughts on “Sorrel Pesto, Bright, Citrusy, Delicious And Easy”

  • 5 stars
    This dish with sorrel pesto looks delicious. I have sorrel in my garden too and enjoy the bright lemony taste. What a great idea to use hazelnuts in the pesto. Thanks for adding all the step by step photos.

    • Thank you Laura! I love the flavour of sorrel raw as opposed to cooked so it retains its brightness. Enjoy 🙂

    • Yes, I’m sure you’ll love it with all the bright citrusy flavour of the sorrel! Thanks for reading 🙂

    • Fresh sorrel has not only a bright color but a bright fresh flavour when used raw. I hope you give it a shot and thanks for reading along!

    • It’s such a lovely green us bet it?! If you like the flavour, you’ll love the pesto! Thanks for chiming in 🙂

  • 5 stars
    This is a great post. I was actually wondering if I should add sorrel to my herb garden this year but I wasn’t sure if it spreads or not. If I can find some, it’s going in!

    • Sorrel is wonderful in the garden and will not take over. I plant mine by my rhubarb as it arrived around the same time each year. It will go to seed eventually but it is easy to control by picking the seed head off (like you would for parsley or rhubarb), it won’t spread through the root system. The lovely thing with this is once you plant it once, it’ll come back on it’s own.

  • 5 stars
    I love using the herb garden for more than just seasonings, and this recipe looks wonderful. I especially love that you used hazelnuts. I’ve never used them in pesto before and since they are local for us I can’t wait to try it!

    • Hazelnuts are such a delicious and versatile nut, really great in any pesto. Thanks for reading along Colleen!

  • 5 stars
    I didn’t even know sorrel was a thing, especially a thing that you could make pesto out of! It sounds delicious – I wonder if I could grow it in Calgary’s short growing season?

        • Great, thank you! Is peeled better? I’m very much looking to trying your recipe. I actually picked up sorrel for the first time from the farmers market and just cooked it with olive oil, butter, and shallots (and topped on salmon). Your pesto sounds great so it will be my next way to try sorrel

          • Peeled is marginally better but very time consuming so up to you. You’ll find the sorrel has a much brighter flavour used raw in the pest than cooked. I hope you get a chance to let me know how you like it after you try it 🙂

          • Definitely will do! I plan to try in a week or so after I get sorrel from the farmers market this weekend.how long does the pesto last once I make it?

          • 3 days in fridge though the top may brown a little. If longer, this freezes very well.

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