Those of you who follow me on Instagram might remember seeing the image I shared of my green marinara sauce last March, when I promised a recipe to follow on my blog soon.
And then I did not do that.
But better late than never, as they say. A warmer than usual February has triggered the earliest spring plants to sprout, including one of my annual favorites, prickly sow thistle.
|Early spring prickly sow thistle, picked last Friday
|That vivid green color is all natural
I really, really love this recipe. Unlike a pesto, this is completely vegan (unless you add cheese on top). It's also low in fat, since oil isn't a key ingredient. And each serving is also a full serving of leafy vegetables! That last point is especially important since sow thistle is incredibly nutritious, rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium and a number of important vitamins.
It's really surprising how creamy this sauce is, considering that it has no cream, milk, coconut milk or cheese.
Green Marinara With Wild Foraged Sow Thistle
Makes enough for 16oz. of pasta, feeds 4-6, ready in 20 minutes
Note: If no prickly sow thistle is available, substitute with swiss chard or spinach
|A heaping colander is the right amount
- 6 cups of prickly sow thistle leaves and young stems, roughly chopped
- 1 medium sweet yellow or white onion, diced
- 1 heaping tsp. Better Than Bouillon roasted garlic flavor
- 2 tbs. + 1 tbs. olive oil or butter
- 1 tbs. flour
- Crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- Pasta or roasted veggies, to serve
- Grated cheese or vegan cheese, to serve, optional
- Add sow thistle to a large stockpot and add enough water to cover. Salt lightly and bring to a boil.
- In a separate stockpot, start to prepare your pasta according to package directions.
- After the sow thistle has boiled for 5 minutes and is tender, drain but do not throw out the nutrient-rich water.
- Add the diced onion to the stockpot where the sow thistle was, add 1 tbs. of olive oil or butter, and sauté until translucent and soft. Add the onion to the drained sow thistle.
The ideal consistency
- Heat 2 tbs. oil or butter in the stockpot, mix in the flour, creating a roux. Return the onion, the sow thistle and around 2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid to the stockpot.
- Over medium heat, gently sauté the sow thistle mix with the roasted garlic bouillon and the crushed red pepper flakes, if using.
- Use a hand mixer to blend together all the ingredients. Test for flavor, adding more salt, garlic or red pepper flakes, if needed. (I didn't think it needed any more salt).
- Serve tossed with pasta or as a sauce over roasted veggies or grilled meat. Sprinkle with grated cheese, if desired.