Bee Balm Pesto

by Jade Shutes

My son, Soren, and I have a great love of pesto and we love exploring different plants to use in our pesto making. From Bee Balm to Lady’s Thumb and Basil to Nettles, you can use just about any edible leaf to make it!

Bee Balm Pesto

  • 3 cups Bee balm leaves (Monarda fistulosaor M. didyma)**
  • 1 cup Walnuts (*Can lightly toast in skillet)
  • 2 – 2.5 tbsp of Lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese or Nutritional yeast
  • 3-4 cloves of Garlic (more, if you have a love of garlic!)
  • 3/4 cup Extra-virgin Olive Oil

**Can combine 1.5 cups bee balm with 1.5 cups of Lady’s Thumb (Persicaria maculosa) or Nettles (Urtica dioica).

To Make: Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend down to pesto! Can add more olive oil if needed. The pesto is now ready to eat. Combine with pasta or enjoy on your favorite crackers or bread.

**This recipe has been adapted from one shared by Juliet Blankespoor during her Medicinal Plant Cultivation course that Soren and I attended last year.