Cow parsley pesto

Nicola took Willow for a walk along the hedgerows yesterday and picked some cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) which she made into a delicious pesto.  One of the earlier plants to make an appearance, be aware that cow parsley can be mistaken for hemlock, so take a look at this post to make sure that you pick the right plant.  You might also like to try this recipe for cow parsley soup.


  • A good handful of young cow parsley shoots
  • Couple of cloves of garlic
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Walnuts
  • Pinch of salt
  • Olive oil

cow parsley pesto

How to make cow parsley pesto

  • Peel the garlic and pound it in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of sea salt
  • Roughly chop the cow parsley and  grind it to a paste (or pulse in a food processor, it’s easier!)
  • Add the walnuts and pound (or pulse) again
  • Stir in half the Parmesan cheese
  • Drizzle in some oil
  • Add most of the remaining cheese
  • Have a taste, and keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste and consistency

cow parsley pesto

I can vouch that it is absolutely delicious and definitely worth a try.  I had mine with a cup of cleavers (Galium aparine) tea, a great spring tonic and incredibly refreshing.

cleavers tea

We identify, collect and cook with a wide range of plants on our Wild Foods & Woodland Cooking course.  You can see loads of photos from that, and all of our other courses, on our Facebook page.

About Gary

Lead Instructor at Jack Raven Bushcraft, teaching bushcraft, wilderness and survival skills to groups and individuals.

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