Nasturtium and macadamia pesto

Nasturtium flowers

Gavin Hughes, Executive Chef, Byron at Byron Resort & Spa, has provided this recipe for Organic Gardener. See the article on edible flowers in our September-October issue, page 28.

Nasturtium and macadamia pesto serves many!

These peppery leaves make a welcome change to the traditional basil pesto. We do use a small amount of basil in this recipe for its sweetness, and use raw macadamia nuts to replace the traditional pine nuts. This is great with slow-braised rabbit dishes or placed on top of risottos.


  • 3 cups nasturtium leaves 
  • 1 cup of flat leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves 
  • ½ cup of raw macadamias (more if you like pesto nutty) 
  • 1 small clove raw garlic
  • macadamia oil to required consistency 
  • generous handful of good-quality parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt to taste


  1. I like to blanch the nasturtium leaves in boiling water for roughly 8 seconds. 
  2. Drain or refresh in iced water, and make sure you squeeze dry the leaves to get rid of excess water. This makes the pesto less pungent and gives you a nicer vibrant green colour.
  3. Place the macadamias, garlic and parmesan in a food processor bowl, blend till smooth-ish. I like my pesto a wee bit bitty!
  4. Add your blanched nasturtiums and remaining herbs. Use the pulse button and add macadamia oil gradually. 
  5. Place in a bowl and add by hand the remaining required amount of oil. Season if necessary. 

Note: Food processors generate friction heat, which will essentially cook the pesto if over-blended, producing an unpleasant colour and finish. So don’t leave the processor on for too long.


First published: July 2013

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In Season, Preserving Food, All Gardens, Herbs, What to harvest now, Recipes