Bealtaine Spring Foraged Pasta Recipe
Lemon Balm Pesto Pasta with Foraged Mushrooms and Greens
Prepared by Seven Sister Carrie Poe
The Bealtaine portal is closing, but the morel mushrooms are still popping in Northern Michigan and I just got this recipe out to cook them up with some other foraged goodies and decided it’s still a great time to share this recipe!
Each year as the days grow longer and the sun stronger, I look forward to my spring foraging walks. As the snow melts away and exposes the bare earth I savor the green of moss and other small evergreen plants on the forest floor and I wait like an expectant mother for the first green shoots of life.
Where I live in Northern Michigan the morel mushrooms pop up anytime from early April to late May. To be honest, I haven’t perfected the art of mushroom hunting, and I don’t know all the good spots. What I love is to spend the day out in the forest letting my vision go blurry as I see with my womb eye, breathing in the smell of wet, newly fertile soil. I just love being with the forest, being breathed by the forest.
On my search for those sneaky hidden morels I often gather fiddleheads, nettles, dandelion greens, chickweed, and dig a few leeks. I might swoop up some baby wild raspberry leaves to dehydrate while I’m at it! I’ve been building an appetite for the forest all winter and want to merge with the first green shoots and bring their medicine into my body as a holy communion with this land that supports me. The energies of Bealtaine have me craving a deeper connection to the land, a marriage with Gaia.
Lemon Balm is one of my favorite plants to support my nervous system. It helps to sooth me and help me to stay emotionally well without being too strong or drowning out other plants. I love the combination of this healing balm wrapping around our foraged goodies from the springtime land! Such potent medicine to celebrate this high feast of fire and sacred union.
For the Pesto:
- 3/4 cup lemon balm leaves firmly packed
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 TB lemon juice
- 1 tsp fresh chives
- salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. An immersion blender will also work well. If you don’t have these, you could try a mortar and pestle. This would be slow going but a great time to add prayer and intention while you mush it up.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the Foraged Mushrooms and Wild Greens:
In my town we have a local “mushroom man” at the farmers market who sells reliable locally and sustainably sourced mushrooms fresh from the forest. I recommend going this route for the mushrooms unless you are experienced and know your mushrooms well.
- Mushrooms from your forest or farmer’s market.
- Wild Spring Greens like Nettles, dandelion greens, fiddleheads, swiss chard or other.
For the Mushrooms: I like to saute my mushrooms on medium high heat in olive oil or butter. If there are too many in the pan, they can’t lose their water as well and sometimes come out slimy. I just put in a layer of them to cover the pan, but not crowd the mushrooms. I also add a little salt while cooking. You can use whatever method you like to cook these up.
Fiddleheads: These emerald gems can be mildly toxic if not prepared properly. It is important to follow this two step process to cut down their toxicity.
- I first rinse them in cold water and then let them sit for a few minutes
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook fiddlehead ferns in the boiling water until barely tender, 7 to 10 minutes; drain.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the prepared fiddlehead ferns and a little salt and pepper if you like. Cook and stir until ferns are tinged lightly brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with lemon juice.
All other greens: Wilt as much as you like in a sauté pan.
For the Pasta:
There are so many delicious choices of pasta depending on your taste. I’m using a gluten-free blend fettuccine noodle that is nice and wide to soak up the lemon balm pesto!
Once all is cooked, incorporate into a large mixing bowl and blend well. Serve with some fresh lemon balm leaves and parmesan shredded on top.