A Delicious Wild Ramp Pesto

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

Wild Ramp Pesto is a delicious and versatile way to make the most of your foraging harvest. It’s quick to make and easily preserved by freezing. 

Wild Ramp Pesto

There’s really no better feeling than a full foraging basket of garlicky wild ramps. These pungent wild edibles, also called wild leeks or wild garlic, are amazing in filled pastas such as this Tortellini with Stinging Nettle, Ramp Pesto, and Chicken. Experiment with your natural bounty by adding it to pastas, stews, sandwiches, dips, and this Ramp Pesto to soups such as this Creamy Homemade Tomato Soup

Spring Ramp Foraging in North America

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.

Wild ramps with bulbs and leaves on a wooden background.

Their uniquely pungent, garlic flavour makes them quite popular with chefs and foragers alike. This popularity has also 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.

Vibrant green leaves of cleaned wild ramps on a white marble background.

Versatile Pesto Made With Wild Leeks

Though the traditional pesto recipe (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.

A white scalloped bowl containing vibrant green ramp pesto.

How to Make Ramp Pesto

If you have whole ramps, begin by removing the bulb from the leaves (you can pickle the ramp bulbs later). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanche the ramp greens by adding them to the boiling water for a minute. Quickly remove them using a slotted spoon and shock them in a bowl of ice water. Drain and dry them.

To make the pesto: Chop the ramps in a food processor, then add the basil, pine nuts, cheese, lemon, garlic (if using). Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle in the olive oil as the food processor is running.

A scalloped white bowl filled with vibrant green pesto surrounded by ramp leaves.

Using the Ramp Pesto to Add Flavour

Once the pesto is made, the possibilities are almost endless.

  • Add wild ramp 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.
  • Mix a spoonful into scrambled eggs, hummus, or avocado toast. 
  • 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.
  • Boost flavour in potato or macaroni salads. 

A scalloped white bowl filled with vibrant green pesto surrounded by ramp leaves.How to Store Pesto

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. If you prefer not to freeze it, cover the ramp pesto with a layer of olive oil and store in the fridge for up to a week. 

PIN Wild Ramp Pesto HERE.

Pinterest image of a scalloped white bowl filled with vibrant green pesto surrounded by ramp leaves.

Yield: 2 cups

Wild Ramp Pesto

A scalloped white bowl filled with vibrant green pesto surrounded by ramp leaves.

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 Wild Ramp Pesto.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • a good handful of fresh ramp greens; thoroughly cleaned
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 large clove garlic; roughly chopped (if you need extra garlic!)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts; toasted
  • 1/2 lemon; juiced
  • 1/3 cup pecorino; finely grated
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions

    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.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 330Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 243mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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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!

    Reply

  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.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

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

      Reply

  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.

    Reply

    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.

      Reply

  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!!

    Reply

  5. Marisa

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

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

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

      Reply

  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!

    Reply

  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!

    Reply

  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!

    Reply

  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!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Wonderful Liz! Thank you so much for stopping by.

      Reply

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