May 19, 2020

Ramp greens pesto

A finished jar of ramp greens pesto on a cutting board with whole ramps.

Bright, vibrant, and full of onion and garlic flavor, this ramp greens pesto is a delicious way to add spring flavor to pasta, pizza, chicken, and more. Ramps are only around for a short period of time and using the greens to make a pesto is the perfect way to enjoy this spring wild edible.

What are ramps? Ramps are a wild leek found in the eastern U.S. and Canada. They have bright green leaves which come up in April and have a bulb that tastes like a combination of onion and garlic. Ramps leaves last until mid to late May and then they turn yellow and are no longer good for eating.

Ramps have become very popular over the past few years. My husband's family have been collecting them on their land for many years and that is where we get some each year. We do not collect from public lands and leave many to continue to grow.

They best and most sustainable way to collect ramps is to cut the leaves only. If you take the bulb, you should cut it and leave the roots. You can find out more about ramps here and more information about sustainable harvesting here.

Once you've made your pesto, you can use it in a variety of ways, just like basil pesto. I like to use it as a pizza sauce for a cheese pizza, or a pasta sauce. I also like to stir pesto into an Alfredo sauce. It's terrific on chicken. You can thin it out with more olive oil or pasta water, too. The color and flavor just scream spring! 

Close-up side view of a finished jar of ramp greens pesto.

Yield: about 1 cup

Ramp Greens Pesto

Ramp Greens Pesto

Bright, vibrant, and full of onion and garlic flavor, this ramp greens pesto is a delicious way to add spring flavor to pasta, pizza, chicken, and more. Ramps are only around for a short period of time and using the greens to make a pesto is the perfect way to enjoy this spring wild edible.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups firmly packed roughly chopped ramp greens
  • 4-5 ramp bulbs (or 2 garlic cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • about 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Place the ramp greens, bulbs/garlic, lemon juice, walnuts, salt, and pepper into a food processor. Pulse until the mixture begins to get smooth. Pulse in the Parmesan.
  2. Turn the food processor on low and begin to slowly stream in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth and your desired consistency.
  3. Use on top of pizzas, as a pasta sauce, on chicken or fish, etc. Store in the refrigerator for a few days, or freeze and thaw before using.

Notes:

It is sometimes recommended to blanch the leaves before using, especially if you are going to freeze them, to help keep the pesto bright green. I find the lemon juice works fine and the color is fine as is. I use walnuts here, but pine nuts, almonds, and others may also work well. You can make the pesto without the cheese as well. It will be thinner, but still delicious.
Created using The Recipes Generator

If you find yourself with ramps, I hope you give this a try! Let me know in the comments below.

Overhead view of jar of pesto with some on a wooden spoon.

Check out these other ramp and foraging recipes:

Honey Dandelion Shortbread Cookies

Crabapple Mostarda

Creamy Potato and Ramp Soup

Roasted Maple Blueberries

6 comments:

  1. I adore garlicky ramp greens! The pesto made with them tastes extra aromatic!

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  2. Mmmm, that looks very healthy! 💚💚💚

    Thanks for the recipe. 👏🏻

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  3. I only see ramps at farmers markets these days, and they're all closed at the moment because of social distancing. So I'll have to wait to make this. But wow, this looks wonderful. Neat recipe -- thanks.

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  4. I have never had ramp...but loving the idea of making pesto sauce with this green...looks great Amy.
    Have a wonderful rest of the week!

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  5. I need to find ramps. For some reason they have always been on my must try list!

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  6. Dear Amy, unfortunately ramp season has come to an end around here but if there is one spring ingredient that I adore cooking with, it's fresh bright green ramp - and you made a very delicious looking pesto with it.

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