Lemony Red Sorrel Pesto Recipe

Pesto is one of my main reasons for living. Especially during the summer, when basil abounds! I actually dread the onset of winter, because it means no more garden basil down here. 

But here's the thing about pesto: it's a super flexible condiment. There are a multitude of delectable combinations and endless variations on this tasty standby, which basically consists of oil, cheese, nuts, garlic, and some sort of greenery. 

Lemony Red Sorrel Pesto Recipe

Lemony Red Sorrel Pesto Recipe

You can make kale pesto, basil pesto, cilantro pesto... whatever! You've got options.

Red sorrel made my post about 15 Edibles You Basically Cannot Kill, and I immediately got a lot of questions. Mainly, "What do you do with red sorrel?" and "How do you cook with red sorrel?" So, why not red sorrel pesto?

My favorite thing about red sorrel is that lemony taste, so I knew from the start I wanted to pair it with flavors that would compliment and accent it, not overpower it. I decided to roast my garlic, go with a semi-hard cheese, and pecans since I do after all live in the South. I couldn't be happier with the result! 

Note: Not all olive oils are created equally. If you're making a fine batch of pesto, like this one, go ahead and splurge on some quality EVO. 

Lemony Red Sorrel Pesto Recipe


  • 1.5 cups tightly packed red sorrel leaves

  • 4-5 garlic cloves, as desired

  • 1/3 cup pecans

  • 1/3 cup semi-hard cheese, such as Campo de Montalban, a 3-blend cheese)

  • scant 2/3 cup oil (or to taste, I like a firm but spreadable pesto)

  • 1 tsp lemon zest (optional but recommended)

  • salt and pepper to taste

Lemony Red Sorrel Pesto Recipe


  1. Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 400F. Peel garlic cloves, lay on small piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle garlic with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold foil into airtight envelope surrounding garlic. Roast garlic until soft and fragrant, 30-35 minutes.

  2. Thoroughly wash red sorrel leaves and trim off excess stem. Discard or save for broth. Place leaves into food processor, pour olive oil over. Blend. Add pecans, garlic, season with salt and pepper.

  3. Taste, and add lemon zest, as desired.

Enjoy this lemony pesto on crostini or toasted artisan bread, or smeared on your favorite sandwich. It's lemony, it's buttery, it's delicious. This little one has become a staple in my house! 

The best part is that in South Carolina, sorrel is in season all year round. While basil needs some hand-holding and won't survive the winter, red sorrel has been, in my experience, heat resistant, cold tolerant, drought resistant, and pest resistant. It will flourish in both part shade and full sun. 

Incorporating hardy, backyard-grown crops into your diet is an important part of lessening your food-footprint on the planet! 

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Lemony Red Sorrel Pesto Recipe

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Lemony Red Sorrel Pesto Recipe