One of my favourite things about spring is that it brings with it the wild garlic season. You know what I am talking about right? We are lucky to be able to find wild garlic (ransomes) in woods, hedgerows and parks here, there and everywhere. But I am even more chuffed about how amazing well the patch of wild garlic that I planted (there is no such thing as too much wild garlic folks) is doing. So what better way to use this abundant and wonderful spring leaves than in a simply moorish wild garlic pesto? It pretty much means wild garlic for the next few lunches and suppers. Folks, you have been warned.
Please do check out the Royal Horticultural Society for a guide on how to recognise wild garlic if you go out foraging. Having the entire area smelling of garlic would probably be a good first clue. Or you could simply get some from a farmers market near you. Then please feel free to make a gazillion treats like a wild garlic and chickpea curry, some wild garlic falafels and of course wild garlic pesto.
Homemade pesto is very easy to make and is essentially a paste of greens, parmesan, garlic and nuts with some olive oil. If you use wild garlic you get the green and the garlic all in one – time and dosh saving has only got to be a good thing right? If you don’t have any wild garlic, then substitute in other greens like basil and rocket but, you would have to add in some garlic. I tend to use cashews in this as they are a pantry staple but you can sub in any nuts you like. Roasting the nuts definitely make a difference to the flavour of the pesto so try not to miss this step.
Pesto is good served on pasta, slathered on tomatoes or grilled vegetable sandwiches or on a homemade pizza. Frankly, I just eat spoonfuls of wild garlic pesto or basil pesto or this rose petal and roasted tomato pesto straight out of the jar because I can. I keep it for up to a couple week in the fridge.
So try this easy homemade wild garlic pesto recipe and don’t forget to leave me a comment below to tell me what variations you have in yours.
If you are interested in more pesto recipes why not check out this buckwheat and chickpea salad with rocket and brazil nut pesto from Natural Kitchen Adventures, this cheesy pesto dauphinoise from munchkins and munchies, this pesto and pinenut bread from Knead Whine, spinach and artichoke pesto from Family Friends Food, salmon and pesto rice bake from Foodie Quine, spring greens spaghetti from Rough Measures, nasturtium pesto from Thinly Spread and pea pesto pasta with prawns from the Petite Cook. Lots of fantastic recipes there.
This post has been updated since I originally posted it in April 2013.
Wild Garlic Pesto
- 100 g (3.5oz) wild garlic
- 100 g (3.5oz) Parmesan cubes
- 100 g (3.5oz) roasted cashew nuts.
- Ground black pepper
- 100 ml (0.5cup) olive oil
- Heat a frying pan and add in the cashew nuts and dry roast them stirring frequently till they are golden and then transfer to a cool container immediately (or they will keep cooking on the hot frying pan).
- Put wild garlic, parmesan, cashew nuts, salt and pepper into a food processor and whizz into a paste.
- If you like your pesto chunky then whizz for a shorter time than you would if you want it smoother.
- Transfer paste into a container and slowly drizzle in rapeseed (canola) oil mixing all the time till pesto is saturated. I add in about 100mls for this amount of pesto but OH happily adds in more.
- Adjust seasoning and serve.
Feel free to play around with the quantities of nuts, cheese and greens to suit your own taste. Alternatively, you can roast the nuts in the oven at fan assisted 140C/ 160C/ 350F/ Gas 4 for about 15 mins. Pesto turns darker if left in contact with air. This is perfectly fine to eat. To try and avoid it turning dark you can cover the surface of the pesto with a layer of olive oil. I have frozen pesto for up to 3 months. You can use olive oil or other oils of your choosing.
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