All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Fuki no to no pesuto / Japanese butterbur bud pesto

A faintly bitter pesto sauce to welcome the arrival of spring.

Whole recipe (approx. 285 g):
1,304 calories; 13.1 g protein; 131.2 g fat; 23.1 g carbohydrate; 12.9 g net carbs; 552 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 10.2 g fiber

1 tbsp (16 g):
73 calories; 0.7 g protein; 7.4 g fat; 1.3 g carbohydrate; 0.7 g net carbs; 31 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 0.6 g fiber

Large handful fuki no to Japanese butterbur buds (13 fuki no to; 115g in photo)
Several sprigs parsley
50-60 g pine nuts (60 g in photo)
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp shiokoji salted rice malt
100 cc olive oil
1/2 tsp baking soda (for boiling fuki no to)


Bring plenty of water to boil.
Add baking soda.


Remove discolored ends of fuki no to.

Quickly put fuki no to in vigorously boiling water, immediately place otoshibuta drop cover to keep fuki no to immersed, and boil 2-3 minutes.
Transfer to ice water to stop cooking and discoloration.
Soak for 1 hour to overnight, until reaching desired bitterness, changing water from time to time.


Meanwhile, toast pine nuts, and chop.


When ready to assemble, squeeze out excess water from fuki no to and roughly chop.
Chop parsley leaves and garlic.


In suribachi mortar or food processor, grind parsley and garlic.
Add shiokoji, and continue to grind to paste.
Add fuki no to, and mash.
Add olive oil, and mix well.
Add pine nuts, and mix well.

  • Parsley leaves are added for a greener hue. Carrot leaves work great, too.
  • If pine nuts are not at hand, walnuts are a good substitute.
  • Chopping pine nuts is to keep the sauce color green. When ground, the color becomes dull (as shown in photo at right) although it is equally delicious.
  • If shiokoji is not available, use 1 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp salt. In this case, sodium content will be around 1,100-3,500 mg per whole recipe, depending on the amount and type of salt.
  • I add Parmesan cheese to the final dish, not to the pesto sauce.
  • Photo at right: Pasta with fuki no to pesto and shrimp (3 tbsp pesto for 150 g dried pasta for two servings)

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