Urban farming: Rosemary pesto

Reasons to love rosemary:

  1. It smells amazing
  2. It tastes great
  3. It grows all over the Mission so you never have to buy it
  4. Picking it makes you feel like you are getting back to the land in a pioneery sort of way/ winning at Oregon Trail. Pick rosemary when your oxen are drying off after fording the river!

Personally I prefer to borrow rosemary from the Friends School on Valencia between 14th and Duboce, but if you go for a short walk, you should be able to find tons of ample-sized bushes at a theater near you.

Blend some culled rosemary with a few other ingredients and you have a gorgeous pesto that would give Bi-Rite a run for their money.


  • ½ cup firmly packed rosemary (1 handful 4-6” sprigs)
  • ½ cup walnuts (traditional pesto uses pine nuts but those are expensive!)
  • 1 cup firmly packed basil
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • Salt to taste

Blend ingredients in your blender! Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, as my friend Liz from New Zealand says. It will only take a second, and then you’ll have a sauce that will fancify anything from pizza to salad to burritos, and is equally good on vegan and omnivorous dishes.

Okay, now let’s all promise that our future-tense selves will plant rosemary bushes in front of our houses to karmically absolve our present-tense selves. Pinky-swear?

9 Responses to “Urban farming: Rosemary pesto”

  1. Yummy. Thanks for switching out the pine nuts ($).

  2. BFW says:

    I would wash any rosemary foraged in the Mission VERY CAREFULLY. You never know who has pooped in it.

  3. Tabby says:

    this sounds so good! thanks!

  4. scum says:

    Lightly roast the nuts for more flavor.

  5. Sweet T says:

    There’s an outside chance this will give you cancer.

  6. GG says:

    And if you don’t feel comfortable molesting other people’s yards, find a plot of land to plant a little rosemary bush. They grow like crazy and need almost no water. Very hardy plants.