Trisha Brown Dance Company Member Lindsey Jones Shares Her Wild Greens Pesto Recipe
For the past decade, Lindsey Jones has graced the stages of New York City’s downtown dance scene, working with a plethora of artists and as a member of Pam Tanowitz Dance, Dance Heginbotham and, as of January, the Trisha Brown Dance Company. But in addition to her thriving dance career, Jones is now pursuing a second passion: plants. “I have had a deep connection with plants for as long as I can remember,” says Jones, who’s now in her third and final year at ArborVitae School of Traditional Herbalism in New Paltz, New York. “When the pandemic hit, I just felt this really strong calling from the plants to deepen my studies.” Training as a clinical herbalist, Jones works with clients on a holistic approach to health, addressing their concerns through herbal tinctures or teas as well as food and lifestyle recommendations. “My goal is to reconnect people with themselves and with these plant allies that we’ve co-evolved with,” she says.
Jones has always loved cooking, and although pesto was in her regular rotation before starting herb school, she now has a deeper understanding of the greens—and raw garlic—involved. “I like using a variety of herbs because you get that huge diversity of nutrients and vitamins,” she says. “It’s a flexible recipe, but it’s also kind of potent food as medicine.” Jones also likes pesto for how economical it can be as a delicious way to use up greens you might have lingering in the back of your fridge. “You’re transforming something that’s a bit sad to something that’s so bright and energized,” she says.
Want another flexible way to incorporate more herbs into your diet? Jones likes to add fresh herbs when making eggs. Lately, inspired by the flavor profiles favored by chef Yotam Ottolenghi, she’s been using sage. “It’s just a bunch of sage and olive oil with eggs, and then lavender, sumac and za’atar salt on top,” she says. “Super-flavorful, but really easy.”
Find an Herbalist
Jones recommends turning to American Herbalists Guild (americanherbalistsguild.com), a database with stringent requirements for providers. As much as possible, she suggests, keep your search local. “Look up nearby herbalists and go on plant walks with them,” she says. “It’s not only worth supporting those people and learning from them, but it’s also learning your local plants and traditions.”
- 3 cups washed, dried and roughly chopped greens (Try dandelion greens, spinach, arugula, parsley, basil, dill or a mixture of different varieties. “You can find dandelion greens at most health food stores or farmer’s markets,” says Jones.)
- 1/4 cup nuts or seeds (Options include walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds and pecans.)
- 2–3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 a lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tbsp for storing (If including cheese, additional olive oil may be necessary to smooth out the texture.)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup grated hard cheese, such as Parmesan or pecorino Romano
- sprinkle of Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes (“For a little kick,” adds Jones)
- Put greens and nuts into a food processor and pulse a few times. Scrape down the sides with a spatula.
- Add the garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, and continue to pulse until everything looks evenly chopped.
- Add cheese and Aleppo or crushed red pepper, if using. Pulse, and balance out with additional oil if needed to achieve a smooth consistency.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and adjust other flavors to your liking.
- Transfer either to a bowl to enjoy right away or to a jar to store. Before refrigerating, add a thin layer of olive oil on top to help preserve. Pesto keeps for about one week in the refrigerator, or it can be frozen into cubes for future use.
- Enjoy pesto on pasta or as a spread. “I love it on some delicious bread or on some beautiful radishes, celery or crackers,” says Jones. “I also love it as a side for meatballs or fish. It’s so versatile.”