How to Live Anywhere: Weed Pesto

london rocketIf you live in El Paso, you probably have London Rocket growing in your yard right now. I guarantee that there’s some growing within a half a block.

London Rocket is everywhere. Some people call it, not incorrectly, Wild Mustard. With all the rain lately, we’re facing a bumper crop. The leaves look a lot like arugula, which also sometimes adopts the nom de guerre of Rocket. London Rocket is bitter like an ex-wife. Rocket is too bitter for a whole salad, but you can throw a few leaves in your store-bought Spring Mix for some kick. And then you’re more bitchin’. Tell your dinner guests you picked the salad, “or at least some of it,” from the neighborhood.

But good golly, wash that Rocket. Your neighbor’s dog may have peed on it. (But at least he’s probably well-hydrated, and hasn’t been pounding tequila and Diet Coke all day, like some people I know. Andrew.)

Or try this recipe for Wild Rocket Pesto that I lifted from the intertube.


  1. To paraphrase that old saying about trash and treasure, one man’s weeds are another’s vegetables. The ones pictured and other species seem to grow abundantly in many places so if they are edible and tasty, I say why not?

    A few years ago I read in some blog about either the quelites or verdolagas. These too grow wild and are considered weeds, but they are edible. I recalled my father used to pick them out in the wild, bring them home and cook them. Pretty good. Recently I have seen the fresh quelites for sale at ~$3/lb.

    Been checking on this Mustard weed pictured, see if anyone has tasted it. Below is link to the IPM that provides info on weeds.

    Be the way, don’t know if it’s my eyes, but on the upper left quadrant I see a white flower, is it Jimsonweed?

    The recipe link is not working.

    1. Thanks, Pati, I fixed the link.

      My friend professional chef Mike Nosenzo offered this advice on Facebook: “If it’s that bitter I’d opt for another route rather than a raw treatment like pesto or salad. Treat like Callaloo greens or braise slow with some fatback. And pick young if at all possible. I’d say late spring before the EP summer sun makes them tough and bitter.”

      Let us (lettuce?) know how it works out.

  2. Information on the internet indicates that this plant is an annual. I would think otherwise as the plants I have around my property have survived all that winter has thrown at them. They are still going strong. Besides, my chickens enjoy the fresh greens.

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