Sour Grass Pasta

Is sour grass still growing in your yard? In a wild space near you?

If so, try out this simple recipe that’s a favorite of Amelie and Liam Picotte, two WYP Grasshoppers from our after-school programs. Their neighbors Alexandra and Halima Riparetti created this recipe as a way to use the tart and bright flowers and leaves of this springtime weed. They add a lovely lemon flavor to any dish.

Identifying Sour Grass 

Sour grass, aka Wood Sorrel, Bermuda Buttercup and Oxalis (Oxalis pes-caprae), is a non-native, invasive plant, but so fun to eat. It has five-petaled yellow flowers on tall stems. The leaves are a cluster of three heart-shaped leaflets, often with purplish spots. It’s sour taste is the main giveaway that this is the correct plant.

The Recipe


  • A couple handfuls of sour grass flowers and leaves
  • Cooked pasta of your choice
  • Olive oil or butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded parmesan (or any) cheese


Cook pasta according to the directions. Drain and return to the pot. Add the oil or butter, mix until melted. Then add the cheese, sour grass, salt and pepper to taste, toss and plate.


If you don’t have sour grass, add in any wild edible green such as miner’s lettuce, arugula, or chickweed and/or garnish with wild edible flowers such as nasturtium, mustard or radish. I love adding greens from the kitchen too, kale or chard or even broccoli. With pasta (and cheese), anything will be yummy.

For extra flavor and spice, sauté some garlic and red pepper flakes (not too much, a little goes a long way) in the oil for a couple minutes then add the pasta, etc to it. In Italy they call this, “aglio, olio e peperoncino” and it’s so good.

In my bowl: Organic whole wheat spaghetti, chard with stems, wild arugula, sour grass, garlic, red pepper flakes, pecorino cheese. Yowzers! 

The Wrap

If you have a recipe using any wild plant in Santa Barbara, send it to us so we can share with the WYP community. Contact Diana La Riva,, if you have questions about sour grass or to share a recipe.