The NCPs (Non-Conventional Plants) are tasty and nutritious, giving the dishes different colors, aromas and tastes, stimulating and new. The garden nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) is one of these plants.
Its flowers are beautiful and of pleasant aroma and its leaves are large and rounded.
For those who do not know, the nasturtium is edible, you can consume leaves, flowers and pods of this plant.
In this article, you will discover various ways to use the nasturtium as food, and three vegan recipes that take this versatile plant as a main ingredient!
What is nasturtium?
The nasturtium is an annual, perennial (long-lasting) ground plant native to the Andes. The color of the nasturtium flower can range from light yellow to deep red.
The more yellow, the more spicy the flavor. The taste is a mixture of watercress with arugula, with a softer taste. The flower is rich in lutein, a carotenoid with beneficial properties for sight. The plant is a source of vitamins, proteins, antioxidants, fibers, minerals and photochemicals.
Nasturtium consumption tips
The flowers to be used in culinary recipes should be harvested as soon as they are opened, small ones are usually better to eat, while larger ones are best suited for spreading, or being used in torn, chopped or kneaded dishes.
The leaves have a spicy taste and are suitable for salad. They are ideal substitutes for watercress.
The green pod, with seeds of the nasturtium, is used to replace capers. Use them in any dish that uses capers like pizzas and salads. They also look good in preserves; such as pickles with nasturtium pods. The nasturtium pods are popularly known as fake capers, because of this similarity. Another option is to eat the raw pods.
The flowers of the nasturtium can be eaten with stuffing inside them. An ideal filling to eat with the flower of the nasturtium is the guacamole, for this is just put inside the flower teaspoons of this filling, until filling three quarters of it. Then, carefully fold the petals around the filling, you can serve with toasted or cream – cracker biscuits, placing the stuffed flower on top of the toast or the biscuit, a very good way to taste this delicacy. Other alternatives to toast or the cream-cracker biscuit are slices of cucumber, celery stalks or chili flakes if you prefer the stuffed flower can be pure food.
Nasturtium frittata is another delicious option to taste the flower and the nasturtium leaf.
To reduce the bitterness of the nasturtium, you can add a little demerara sugar or cane syrup or fruit juice, such as orange, in sauces and salads that contain nasturtium, to sweeten the taste a little more.
The leaves of the nasturtium look delicious on cucumber sandwiches for a light and healthy snack!
To ensure the freshness of the nasturtium as food, it is best to keep it refrigerated.
An alternative to cooking with nasturtium is to use and put your petals and leaves in olive oil, sauces or vinegar, kneading them before adding them in these foods.
Do not consume nasturtiums treated with pesticides , or flowers from the street or any other place where you do not know the origin and the way of cultivation.
Three vegan recipes with nasturtium
For all the recipes below, the main ingredient will be the nasturtium, whether with its flowers, seeds and/or leaves without pesticides:
1. Potato salad with nasturtium mayonnaise
- 3 potatoes
- 1 bunch of edible nasturtium flowers
- 1/2 cup vegetable milk of your choice, ice cream
- 1/2 cup sunflower oil
- 1/2 lemon
- salt to taste
Cook potatoes without peeling, with water and a tablespoon of salt until softened
Then drain the water and let the potatoes cool
Peel the potatoes, cut and season to taste.
For the mayonnaise:
In the blender put the well-frozen vegetable milk, the juice of 1/2 lemon to give consistency and the nasturtium flowers and robe.
The more the vegetable milk is chilled, the less cooking oil will be needed for the mayonnaise.
While whipping the ingredients in the blender, add the oil until the mixture is more consistent.
Add the salt and mix with the potatoes. Decorate the plate with nasturtium flowers.
2. Nasturtium omelette
- 2 potatoes, cooked and peeled
- 2 tablespoons vegetable milk of your choice
- 1/2 cup of wheat flour
- 2 seeds of nasturtium
- 2 young leaves of nasturtium
- 4 nasturtiums, only petals
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or 1 strand of sunflower oil to fry the omelet
Knead well the potatoes and mix with the vegetable milk and the wheat flour beat well to remain a homogeneous mass
Knead the nasturtium seeds with the back of a fork and add them to the dough.
Add to the dough, leaves and petals of the nasturtium.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Put the coconut oil or a strand of sunflower oil in the skillet and set over low heat to heat.
When warm, place the omelet mixture and let it fry over low heat, turn the omelet on the other side to evenly fry.
Garnish with nasturtium petals and can serve.
3. Extra green nasturtium salad
- 12 leaves of nasturtium
- 10 nasturtium flowers
- 5 leaves of American lettuce
- 4 leaves of Italian chicory
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil to taste
Wash the cherry tomatoes, flowers and leaves of all vegetables in running water and then dip them in a platter with water and vinegar, let them act for five minutes on the flowers and leaves and tomatoes for up to 15 minutes.
Cut it into thin strips, and place it on a platter, adding the other vegetables and assembling the salad in the form of a bouquet, with American lettuces, nasturtium flowers and leaves, and cherry tomatoes.
Add olive oil and salt to taste.
Well, now that you know more about nasturtium’s gastronomic virtues, how about experimenting with it to know its flavor?