By Tiffany Bader:
Chickweed (Stellaria media) is a beautiful sprawling herb that can be found in yards, pastures and forests around the world. Commonly deemed a weed, most gardeners aren’t aware of its nutritional value and refreshing taste. It’s a welcome addition to soups, salads, green drinks, pastas, sandwiches and more. It gets its name because it’s most often used as chicken food.
There are many chickweed lookalikes, however, two very distinguishing features set it apart. When in bloom, chickweed flowers have five delicate heart-like petals, each with a deep slit down the middle. Chickweed also has a single line of fine hair running up each stem. All parts of the plant are edible, but it’s best to avoid copious amounts if pregnant.
Here are some fantastic recipes by Tiffany Bader. All of these sauces are amazing with grilled meats or fish.
- 1/2 cup finely chopped chickweed. You can substitute this for other herbs or foraged greens like sheep’s or wood sorrel, plantain, bittercress, dandelion greens, blanched stinging nettles, lambs lettuce, ramps, etc.
- 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 cloves of garlic finely minced
- 1 small jalapeño or serrano chili – depending on your appetite for spice, you can add more or remove the seeds from the centre of the chilli to make it less spicy
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 large shallot finely chopped, if the shallot is very small, use a whole one
Chop up the herbs by hand – don’t use your blender as you want the sauce to be chunky and not a smooth paste. Mix all ingredients and benefits by allowing the sauce to sit for 10 minutes before eating.
- 2 cups of fresh chickweed. You can substitute this for other herbs or foraged greens like sheep’s or wood sorrel, plantain, bittercress, dandelion greens, blanched stinging nettles, lambs lettuce, ramps, etc.
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 whole jalapeños
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 cup olive oil
This sauce can be made in the food processor or blender and should be like a less chunky and thinner pesto sauce. Blend the garlic first, then add all of the ingredients and blend until no large chunks remain. Stop a couple of times to scrape down the sides of your blender to ensure that everything is chopped well.
Kenyan inspired coconut and chickweed chutney (Naryal ni)
- 1/2 cup of fresh chickweed. You can substitute this for other herbs or foraged greens like sheep’s or wood sorrel, plantain, bittercress, dandelion greens, blanched stinging nettles, lambs lettuce, ramps, etc.
- 1 whole jalapeño
- 1 cup desiccated coconut – unsweetened
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- Water – start with 1/4 cup and add more if needed
Put the garlic in a blender or food processor and process until well chopped. Add the jalapeño and process again until well chopped. Add the herbs, lime juice and sea salt and process well. Add the coconut last and process a bit further until well chopped but not completely smooth. You want the chutney to be chunky. If the sauce is too thick, add water to help it combine. Season to taste and add more salt and lime juice if needed. The sauce absorbs liquid as it sits, so you may need to add more water later. Traditional recipes call for lemon juice, much more coconut and less herbs but i prefer it a bit chunkier with a the fresh brightness that lime juice brings.