My yard is full of Miner’s Lettuce right now, another bonus from the wet spring. Some people might just mow it down not realizing it is a delectable and edible leaf, mild tasting like spinach. It is great in salads but it also makes a fantastic pesto/dip. I just picked a bowlful and blended the leaves with some garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, nutritional yeast, cashews and a handful of frozen peas and proceeded to put it on just about everything I could find!
Think: carrots, celery, crackers, rice cakes, pasta, spaghetti squash, spiralized zucchini, baked potato, even bread! I may have just come up with the next best thing to avocado toast😋
OK, so you don’t happen to have a yard full of Miner’s Lettuce? No worries, just substitute baby spinach which you can buy at the market. Not nearly as satisfying as foraging your own greens but it will make a great pesto/dip, too. Just make sure to add the other ingredients!
RECIPE for Miners Lettuce Pesto/Dip (makes about 1 1/2 -2 cups)
- 2 cups Miners Lettuce or baby Spinach
- 1 large clove garlic, chopped
- 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 TBSP nutritional yeast
- 1/3 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- Wash Miners Lettuce or Spinach.
- Peel & chop garlic clove.
- Put Miners Lettuce/spinach in blender or food processor.
- Add all the other ingredients & blend until smooth.
- If it needs a bit more liquid to get it to blend together add a little water.
- Taste & adjust seasonings to your taste (salt, more nutritional yeast, lemon juice, or garlic powder, etc.)
Serve this gorgeous green Pesto as a dip with crackers and fresh veggies, or put it on pasta or anything else you would combine with Pesto . It also adds a kick to soups and steamed or sautéed vegetables. Great on potatoes, too. This is seriously good green stuff!
Note: none of my photos are color enhanced! It really is this amazing green all on its’ own!!
While you dipping everything into this green spread here’s some fun food facts about Miners Lettuce.
Miner’s lettuce was a traditional food of the Chumash Indians of California’s central and southern coastal regions. It was eaten raw or cooked; a tea made of the leaves was used as an “invigorating Spring tonic”. Like other highly nutritious salad greens that we are encouraged to eat more of, the plant is rich in Vitamin C. During the Gold Rush era, it was an important way for the miners in California to avoid developing scurvy, a serious disease caused by a deficiency of that vitamin. Hence the name!
It is also known as Claytonia perfoliata – Indian lettuce, spring beauty and winter purslane. It’s an annual plant native to the western mountain and coastal regions of North America from southernmost Alaska and central British Columbia south to Central America, but most common in California in the Sacramento and northern San Joaquin valleys.” Yet another wonderful thing about living in California👍.