home recipes, Plate, seasonal + local

Fennel Frond Pesto Pasta (vegan)

Looking for a unique way to use up the lush green tops of your fennel? Here’s a recipe for a fennel frond pesto pasta that you’ll absolutely love! A glorious no-waste recipe to incorporate extra raw greens on your plate, plus it’s delicious…

I got a beautifully wild fennel from our local farmer’s market a few days ago and it came adorned with these unbelievably long and rich leaves– which I soon discovered are actually called fronds, fennel fronds. Anyway, I just immediately knew I would be making something divine with these wild greens.

And if you’re a pasta lover like I am — who isn’t? — then you’d immediately think of pesto! So cutting right to the chase and sharing the recipe with you today…

This makes a big batch of pesto, enough to freeze several small jars for future use!

Ingredients: 

  • 6 cups of fennel fronds (tops from 1 whole fennel)
  • 1 cup of pine nuts 
  • 2/3 cup cashew nuts (can substitute with walnuts– I didn’t have any!)
  • 4 cloves of garlic 
  • juice of 1 lemon 
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 cup cup water
  • salt + pepper to taste 
  • *optional 1/2 cup nutritional yeast or grated parmigiano! 

Directions:

  1. Remove the fennel fronds from the heart of the fennel
  2. Toast the nuts in a pan until golden and fragrant for a couple minutes, stirring throughout to prevent burning.
  3. Roughly chop the fennel fronds.
  4. Peel garlic.
  5. Juice lemon and pour the juice over the garlic in a small bowl. This removes that pungent garlic kick.
  6. In the meantime, fill a pot with water and start boiling it for your pasta.
  7. Place the fennel fronds and nuts into a food processor.
  8. Add olive oil, salt and pepper.
  9. Add about half of the water, you can add more as you blend depending on the thickness and consistency you desire.
  10. Add optional ingredients – nutritional yeast or parmigiano, to your liking.
  11. When the pasta water has reached a rolling boil, add a generous pinch of salt to the water.
  12. Place enough pasta in the pot as needed and cook according to package instructions.
  13. In your plate or serving bowl, spread some fennel pesto along the bottom, drizzle a little more olive oil over the top.
  14. When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain the pasta and save some of the cooking water.
  15. Pour the pasta into your dish. Pour a couple tablespoons of the leftover pasta water over the top to loosen up and mix in the pesto ideally using two forks.
  16. Top the pasta with more parmigiano and olive oil if desired and you’re ready to go.
  17. Buon appetito!

    * Store the rest of the fennel frond pesto in glass jars and freeze it for up to 6 months. Do not fill your jars completely, leave several cm at the top of the jar to allow room for expanding. To defrost it, place a jar into a bowl of scalding hot water. Replace the water every so often to speed up the de-frosting. This makes a BIG batch, enough to freeze several small jars of pesto for future use!

Other uses for this fennel frond pesto:

A few other ways this pesto could be enjoyed are:

  • Use it as a pasta sauce for these Ricotta + Spinach Ravioli, a perfect tangy and zesty combo for a summer lunch or combined into a rich dinner.
  • Drizzle the fennel frond pesto over roasted veggies or meat
  • Use it as a salad dressing adding extra lemon juice for a runnier consistency and extra citrus flavour.
  • Make mini fennel frond bruschetta

Hope you try this one out, let me know in the comments how it turns out for you 🙂