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Fat Hen and Chickweed Pesto – Eat Your Weeds

Garden Pesto

Another year goes by and another year we are not as organised as we’d like to be down on the plot. We don’t have much in the way of veg to eat at the moment, but we do have a lot of weeds. Luckily for us, many of those weeds are not only edible, but quite delicious when eaten young. Fat hen and chickweed are two of these. Time to make fat hen and chickweed pesto.

Eat Your Weeds

Fat Hen is one of those soft and non-bitter greens which can be substituted for spinach whilst chickweed makes a tasty salad leaf. We forage both of these weeds down on our plot, where they grow in great perfusion. They are entirely edible, but at their best when young.

Fat Hen Chickweed

Fat Hen and Chickweed Pesto

I also used garlic scapes instead of garlic as that’s what we have at this time of year. Apart from the greens, I used the classic ingredients of pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. I may be vegetarian and generally I try to buy vegetarian cheeses, but cheese is an area where I don’t toe a strict line. Cutting out Parmesan from my diet, as well as our delightfully flavoursome Cornish cheeses, would be a very hard thing indeed. Of course a vegetarian alternative hard cheese can easily be used instead.

To make the fat hen and chickweed pesto, I used my Optimum 9200 Next Generation blender, which blitzed the leaves, nuts and chunks of cheese down to a paste in seconds. As regular readers will know, I’m making good use of this powerful tool and use it nearly every day.  This was an easy job for it, but I blend all sorts of tough vegetables and other matter in my morning smoothies, that I couldn’t even contemplate in my old blender. If you are after a good blender, I would highly recommend this one, which is currently the most powerful on the market. At the moment, there is an £80 discount, so now is a good time to buy. Just click on the link above, or the one in my sidebar.

Pesto Pasta

The pesto was so very good, it was hard not to spoon it straight from the jar into my mouth, but I managed to resist – for the most part. We’ve been eating it mainly on pasta, because that really is the best thing you can do with it. It makes for a very quick meal, which is just what is needed on busy days. Spread on seaweed crackers, it also makes a very tasty lunch.

For a more frugal pesto, you could replace the pine nuts with hazelnuts and the Parmesan cheese for Cheddar cheese.

Other Pesto Recipes You Might Like

For more dip and spread ideas, you’ll find plenty in my delicious dips and spreads Pinterest board.

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Garden Pesto. PIN IT.

Eat Your Weeds Garden Pesto spread onto top of a plate of crackers.

Fat Hen and Chickweed Pesto – The Recipe

Jar of Garden Fat Hen and Chickweed Pesto
Print Pin
5 from 1 vote

Fat Hen & Chickweed Pesto

A delicious pesto which can be used on pasta, spread on bread or crackers or diluted with a little olive oil and used as a salad dressing.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Dips, Spreads & Sauces
Cuisine: British
Keyword: chickweed, fat hen, foraged food, pesto, weeds
Servings: 2 jars
Author: Choclette


  • 100 g fat hen and chickweed
  • 75 g pine nuts
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (I used a small bunch of garlic scapes)
  • 75 g Parmesan cheese - cut into chunks
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil


  • Place all ingredients into a high speed blender and pulse until the mixture is blended to a not quite smooth paste.
  • Scrape into two sterilised jars, seal and keep in the fridge until needed.


Makes two medium sized jars, which can be kept sealed in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
Spinach can be substituted for the fat hen and chickweed.


I am linking this to Pasta Please which is hosted, this month, by Lucy over at Baking Queen 74. This monthly challenge originates with Jac from Tinned Tomatoes.

Containing plenty of wild greens as this pesto does, I am sending it off to Shaheen over at A2K – A Seasonal Veg Table for Eat Your Greens.

I’m also sending this off to Ren Behan for Simple and in Season – which this recipe most definitely is.

There is a lot of leaves in this pesto but I doubt any fussy eaters would notice, so I’m sending it off to Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and Michelle at Utterly Scrummy Food for Families for Extra Veg.

I use the Optimum 9200A for smoothies, spreads, sauces and even chocolate making. The post contains affiliate links. Buying through a link will not cost you any more, but I will get a small commission. This helps keep Tin and Thyme blithe and blogging. Opinions are, as always, my own.


  1. Lucy @ BakingQueen74

    16th June 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Yum, this pesto looks delicious. I wouldn’t know where to start with cooking with weeds or wild plants!

    • Choclette

      16th June 2015 at 4:23 pm

      These two are both annuals that just appear all over our veg beds. Most gardeners would pull them up and stick them in the compost – we eat them because we haven’t got much else 😉

      But it would be a shame to throw them away, because they are very tasty and I expect have all sorts of good things in them.

  2. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    16th June 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Didn’t know they were edible! The pesto looks very delicious, Choclette.

    • Choclette

      16th June 2015 at 9:20 pm

      Thank you Angie. I’ve just taken some photos of both weeds and will add them to my post when I get a chance.

  3. Sus @ roughmeasures

    16th June 2015 at 7:30 pm

    what an interesting recipe! I love that you’ve used something that most people would just through out. Might see if my mum has any in her garden! Thanks for linking up my pesto 🙂

    • Choclette

      16th June 2015 at 9:22 pm

      Thanks Sus, there’s something really satisfying about eating ‘food for free’.

  4. Emma @ Supper in the Suburbs

    16th June 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Is it really bad if I admit I’ve never heard of fat hen or chickweed before?! This looks delicious though – very healthy. I’ll have to hunt some down 🙂

    • Choclette

      16th June 2015 at 9:23 pm

      Thanks Emma, I’m going to add some pics of the plants to my post when I get five minutes.

  5. Nayna Kanabar

    16th June 2015 at 10:40 pm

    I have never heard of these weeds so I am amazed at their use.

    • Choclette

      17th June 2015 at 8:39 am

      I’ve put pictures of them both up on the post now Nayna – might help!

  6. Andrea @ The Petite Cook

    17th June 2015 at 8:53 am

    This pesto is incredible! Love the ingredients and the bright green result! I will surely make it ( I’m one of those pesto-addicters) 🙂 Thank you for sharing my Rocket pesto and Broccoli pesto recipes!

    • Choclette

      17th June 2015 at 8:58 am

      Thank you Andrea, it makes a nice change and is truly delicious. And like you, I love the vibrancy of it.

  7. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

    17th June 2015 at 9:48 am

    Gosh you’re so clever, I would never have dreamed that you could use weeds in a useful way! Love it!

    • Choclette

      17th June 2015 at 10:49 am

      Becca thank you, but I’m sure you did. How about wild garlic?

  8. Jo of Jo's Kitchen

    17th June 2015 at 10:07 am

    Yummy! I want to try some fat hen leaves. They sound really interesting

    • Choclette

      17th June 2015 at 10:50 am

      If you have a garden or allotment Jo, they are probably lurking around somewhere 😉

  9. Helen

    17th June 2015 at 11:05 am

    This looks great! None of these plants to be seen in my garden though 🙁
    Maybe I’ll have to start planting ‘weeds’!

    • Choclette

      17th June 2015 at 11:23 am

      I’m really grateful for the weeds Helen as it means we’ve got something to eat from the plot, even if we’ve not managed to plant much – always so much to do!

  10. Janice

    17th June 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Yay for free foraged food! I don’t think we have Fat Hen round our way, but there is certainly plenty of chickweed, love how you have used it.

    • Choclette

      17th June 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Thanks Janice. If you can be bothered to collect enough chickweed, I bet that would be fab all on it’s own.

  11. Kayleigh

    17th June 2015 at 6:17 pm

    This looks brilliant, I love pesto but have never made it before. I didn’t even know there were so many variations.

    • Choclette

      17th June 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Ah the wonders of pesto Kayleigh. Beware, if you make your own, you may never go back to the bought stuff again 😉

  12. Louise

    17th June 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Mmm, I love pesto. This one sounds delicious 😀

    Louise x

    • Choclette

      17th June 2015 at 7:19 pm

      Thanks Louise, it really is good.

  13. Kath

    17th June 2015 at 9:59 pm

    This is such a brilliant use of these “weeds”, I now feel guilty for feeding them to the chickens. The chickens on the other hand are looking worried.

    • Choclette

      18th June 2015 at 8:53 am

      Ah they don’t have those names for nothing Kath – expect the chickens love them and then you get all the nutrients in the eggs. That’s my theory anyway and I’m sticking to it ;-

  14. Phil in the Kitchen

    18th June 2015 at 12:24 am

    I am very, very definitely in favour of eating weeds. I’ve usually got plenty. This sounds like an excellent idea. I know that ground elder is edible too and I’ve got plenty of that but I’ve tried it and I’m not convinced so far about the taste.

    • Choclette

      18th June 2015 at 8:54 am

      Haha, yes indeed Phil. Weeds are one of the sure fire things that are guaranteed to grow.

  15. Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry

    18th June 2015 at 10:51 am

    Pesto is one of my absolute fav things ever so I really like learning about new greens to use.

    • Choclette

      18th June 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Ah yes, pesto is a brilliant thing, if homemade. I’ve never yet found a bought one that I like Bintu.

  16. Kellie@foodtoglow

    18th June 2015 at 11:47 am

    I tend to stick to the ‘baby end’ of foraging but this really sounds a great idea, Choclette. I live near a bountiful woodland with loads of goodies to choose from. I’m sure if I walk only a few metres I will find what I need!

    • Choclette

      18th June 2015 at 3:31 pm

      These two greens are annuals and grow in disturbed soils Kellie, which is why they are so commonly found in gardens.

  17. Galina V

    18th June 2015 at 12:03 pm

    I confess I haven’t heard of fat hen, and probably won’t recognise it. I do use nettles and dandelion leaves in cooking, but need to expand my range. Very inspiring recipe!

    • Choclette

      18th June 2015 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks Galina, I’m not as adventurous as I should be, but these two are really tasty, especially when not much else is growing 😉

  18. Sarah

    19th June 2015 at 7:27 pm

    This is why I love food blogs so much – learn something new everyday, I have not heard of these before. I love the name fat hen and if tastes similar to spinach…I’ll be looking in my backgarden for some!! Hehe! Very good recipe. 🙂

    • Choclette

      20th June 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks Sarah, it’s true. I’ve learnt masses since I’ve been reading blogs. As the name implies, fat hen was traditionally fed to the chickens along with chickweed – well if it’s good enough for the chickens …!

  19. Kate - gluten free alchemist

    20th June 2015 at 7:35 pm

    I am always so impressed with your use of weeds and things growing in the garden! Using weeds scare me to death….. I wouldn’t know which are which!!
    Loving this unusual pesto recipe x

    • Choclette

      21st June 2015 at 8:46 am

      Well I am lucky there Kate. CT is a botanist, so I’ve always got someone to check with if I’m unsure.

  20. Nadia

    24th June 2015 at 12:03 am

    That’s very clever! I would never have thought of eating weeds, even though I don’t have a garden 😛 But if they’re edible and taste good, why not? The pesto looks so delicious Choclette 🙂

    • Choclette

      24th June 2015 at 8:41 am

      Thanks Nadia. I just love the vibrancy of colour the weeds have given and it tastes very good too.

  21. shaheen

    2nd July 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Lovely, I really like Fat Hen, my mother makes an awesome dal with it. I will have to drop a hint and see if you will make it again. Thank you for sharing with #EatYourGreens.

    • Choclette

      3rd July 2015 at 7:57 am

      Ooh, that dal sounds delicious Shaheen. We use Fat Hen as a general “spinach” substitute, but I’m not sure it’s gone into a dal before.

  22. Ren Behan

    13th July 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Thanks for entering your recipe into Simple and in Season. It’s featured on my Pinterest board and the round up is now live. Hope you ate enjoying the cookbook x

    • Choclette

      13th July 2015 at 5:29 pm

      Thanks Ren and what a lovely surprise the book was. I’m really enjoying it, lots of inspiration there.


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