A Delicious and Versatile Pesto Made With Wild Leeks

A bright and flavourful pesto using freshly foraged Spring ramps. #foraged #pesto #ramps #wildedibles

Wild Leeks or Ramps are only available during a short Spring season. Make the most of your foraging harvest by preserving them in this delicious and versatile pesto.

In North America Wild Leeks are one of the first Spring time wild edibles to emerge as the growing season begins. They are found in higher altitudes in Québec, Ontario, and even farther west in Alberta and British Columbia. Their uniquely pungent, garlic flavour makes them quite popular with chefs and foragers alike. It’s this popularity that also has threatened their availability and they must be sustainably harvested so as not to decimate wild populations. If you are going to forage for ramps be sure to follow provincial regulations and mindfully harvest the wild leeks by:

  • taking only a single leaf, leaving the other leaf and bulb intact; OR
  • digging down carefully and cutting the bulb off at the roots, leaving the roots in the ground.

 

Wild Leeks or Ramps are only available during a short Spring season. Make the most of your foraging harvest by preserving them in this delicious and versatile pesto. #pesto #wildleeks #ramps #foraging #foraged #seasonal

A Delicious and Versatile Pesto Made With Wild Leeks

Though traditional pesto (pesto alla genovese) is made primarily with fresh basil leaves you can substitute almost every kind of green in the recipe. I’ve made pesto out of dandelion greens, kale, Spring peas, beet tops, carrot tops, garlic scapes, and now wild leeks or ramps. Experimenting with greens is all part of the fun but if you want to keep some of the traditional flavour alive, I suggest adding at least a handful of fresh basil leaves to your pesto.

Wild Leeks or Ramps are only available during a short Spring season. Make the most of your foraging harvest by preserving them in this delicious and versatile pesto. #pesto #wildleeks #ramps #foraging #foraged #seasonal

Using Pesto to Add Flavour

Once the pesto is made, the possibilities are almost endless. Add wild leek pesto to other ingredients to create a delicious tortellini filling such as I have in Tortellini with Stinging Nettle, Ramp Pesto, and Chicken. Boil up your favourite pasta al dente and add a spoonful of pesto for a quick lunch or dinner. Add a spoonful to soups, stews, and casseroles for that extra flavour boost or toss potato wedges in pesto and roast them for flavourful oven fries. Most pesto recipes (mine included) make more than enough to use in a few different meals and luckily, it freezes really well. I like to freeze it in ice cube trays because that means it will be perfectly proportioned for future meals.

 

Wild Leeks or Ramps are only available during a short Spring season. Make the most of your foraging harvest by preserving them in this delicious and versatile pesto. #pesto #wildleeks #ramps #foraging #foraged #seasonal

Other Pesto Adventures from Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen:

Spring Kale Pesto

Summer Pea Pesto Orecchiette 

Wild Leek (Ramp) Pesto

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Wild Leek (Ramp) Pesto

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  • V
  • GF
A bright and flavourful pesto using freshly foraged Spring ramps.
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Prep Time:10 mins
  • Serves:4
  • Freezable:Yes

Nutrition per portion

Ingredients
  • a good handful of fresh ramp greens; thoroughly cleaned
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 large clove garlic; roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts; toasted
  • 1/2 lemon; juiced
  • 1/3 cup pecorino; finely grated
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
Method
  1. Begin by blanching ramp greens in a large pot of salted boiling water for about 20 seconds. Drain, then shock in a bowl of ice water. You should have just over a cup of greens now.
  2. Add ramp greens to the bowl of a food processor, then add basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese, lemon juice, and salt.
  3. Process for about 20 seconds, then while the processor is still running, begin to drizzle in the olive oil.
  4. Enjoy on hot pasta, in potato salad, on a sandwich, on a spatula...
  5. Never worry about Vampires ever again.

 

Wild Leeks or Ramps are only available during a short Spring season. Make the most of your foraging harvest by preserving them in this delicious and versatile pesto.

 

14 comments

  1. sugarlovespices

    You know, Bernice, I’ve made so many pesto recipes, but never with ramps! This looks outstanding. Love that you still added basil, and pine nuts to keep it close to a traditional pesto. It must taste amazing! Shared!

  2. Ayngelina (@Ayngelina)

    Ramp season is my favourite time of the year, I love foraging but I’m always careful not to share where I go as the ramps are plemtiful because no one knows about them.

    1. Bernice Hill

      No kidding! ha ha! I don’t blame you. How do you like to use your ramps?

  3. Fouzia Husainy

    I have never seen or knew about ramps until I saw your post on instagram. Now after seeing how delicious your pesto looks, I am going to keep looking for them in the local farmer’s market and hope to find them. I want to try out this new flavour so much! thanks for sharing.

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you Fouzia! Yes, they are often very hard to find but it’s worth the hunt. The season is long over now as they have a very short season in early spring. Now is a good time to see them blooming in the wild so that you can identify your own patch in the wild if you’re into foraging.

  4. Bernice Hill

    thank you! If you do make it, be sure to share with everyone you love to save them from all the vampires!!

  5. Marisa

    I really need to expand my pesto repertoire! Wild leeks and ramps sounds uniquely wonderful Bernice!

    1. Bernice Hill

      It never hurts to experiment but traditional is always delicious too. It’s pretty amazing how versatile it really is.

  6. Denise Pare-Watson

    I would love to taste your Wild Leek Pesto, Bernice! I have recently made lots of garlic scape and basil pesto (and also store it in ice cube trays) so I am sure that I would love this wild leek pesto. Thanks for pointing out the tips for sustainability of these foraged treasures. Cheers!

  7. Colleen

    This wild leek pesto sound so delicious! We love to forage, !and we have a secret wild asparagus patch; you gotta keep it secret!) But we haven’t come across ramps here in the Okanagan. Will keep looking though! Thanks for all the tips and a great recipe, Bernice!

  8. Markus Mueller

    We don’t get wild ramps wild here in PEI (at least to my knowledge,) so I’ve never had ramps! Something I’ve always wanted to cook with though!

  9. Lizzy

    I LOVE ramps!! This pesto sounds divine and I really appreciate that you share tips about harvesting sustainably. I’ll give this recipe a try!

    1. Bernice Hill

      Wonderful Liz! Thank you so much for stopping by.

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