Ramp Pesto


Emma Alter Photo
Emma Alter

Difficulty Level Easy

My daughter and I headed out to the farmers' market this past week in the hopes of finding some ramps, or wild leeks as they are often called here. We made straight for the Forbes booth where I usually get the foraged vegetables and Seth said he'd have them in two weeks. Two weeks! Ah, but another vendor had some small ones we were told.

We found the booth with the ramps, but there was a line up. We waited in line with increasing anxiety as we watched people ahead of us choosing their vegetables. The man ahead of us picked up two bunches of ramps—the last two—and contemplated buying them both. And then at the last moment he put one of the bunches back on the table and moved on. Joy! Our first spring vegetable purchase.

Emma told me she had been thinking about ramp pesto since last spring, so that's what we made. We bought some fresh garlic at the market and added it, but I put in too much and it was really garlicky, but honestly, we didn't care we were so happy to have something fresh and green. I don't use a recipe for pesto, I just make it, so the amounts are approximate. You can use walnuts rather than pine nuts if you prefer. When you clean the ramps, just take off the very end of the root and wash them carefully. Use the whole plant in your pesto. You can use pesto on pasta, but you can also put it on grilled chicken, or roasted vegetables.


1 bunch ramps
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp butter, softened
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the ramps, garlic and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor. Add olive oil. Process until it is a paste, or until it is the desired consistency.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese, butter and salt and pepper.
  3. If using as a pasta sauce, add a ladle of the cooking water to the paste and stir.
This recipe appears in: Vegetarian
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