Chef Martha Phelps Stamps shares her recipe for watercress pesto. A flavorful twist on an old favorite.

Belle Meade Plantation is referred to as the “Queen of Tennessee.” Located in Nashville, Tennessee it was known in the past for its horses. Today it is a wonderful place to visit, especially the restaurant Martha’s at the Plantation. Chef and owner Martha Stamps Meade shared a recipe for watercress pesto that is easy to prepare and extraordinarily flavorful. To try more of Martha’s recipes pick up a copy of Martha’s at the Plantation, Seasonal Recipes from Belle Meade.


  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil


  1. Place all of the ingredients except the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Turn the motor on and pour the olive oil through the feed tube while the mixture purees and emulsifies.
  2. Serve warm or at room temperature with roasted or grilled meats, stirred into soups, or tossed with pasta.
  3. This pesto will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.