Our yard and the surrounding area is teeming with weeds. There are the ubiquitous dandelions, those pesky stinging nettles, and an invasive species called garlic mustard.

And they’re all edible and extremely good for you.

Before our farmers market even opens and before our garden produces the first radishes or lettuce, we can snatch up this free food from our own backyard. The younger dandelions and garlic mustard can be used in salads while the more mature leaves should be cooked as they begin to get more bitter.

Always cook stinging nettles as the process cooks the “sting” out.

These greens are a spring tonic for the body – cleansing the liver and helping to release bile which takes toxins out of your body.

And what better way is there to eat these greens than with pasta and fresh peas?

 

Pasta with Peas & Garlic Mustard

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. penne or rotini pasta (we use brown rice)
  • 1/4 lb. young garlic mustard (or other cooking green)
  • 1/2 lb. fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs – basil, parsley, and oregano are all good choices
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (or 2 teaspoons powder)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Prepare al dente pasta by cooking about 1 minute less than package directions indicated. It should still have a bite to it.
  2. Meanwhile, remove large stems from greens and wash in a large bowl of water. Chop roughly and set aside. Shell peas (if using fresh), grate parmesan, and mince garlic.
  3. Once the pasta is done cooking it drain all but about 1/3 cup of of the pasta water off. Return pasta to the pot over a low heat and add olive oil, peas, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add garlic mustard and cook until just wilted.
  4. Once the liquid has evaporated and the greens are wilted remove from heat. Stir in cheese, fresh herbs, and sea salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve garnished with cheese or herbs if desired.

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