Wild Garlic Pesto (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
It’s wild garlic season, so why not try this simple and quick wild garlic pesto? Delicious in sandwiches, pasta dishes, drizzled on baked potatoes or used as a salad dressing. This pesto is made with a handful of simple ingredients and it’s ready in less than 5 minutes!
Spring is my favourite time of year, not just because of the beautifully aromatic blossoms that fill the trees in my garden, but also because it is wild garlic season. It’s the perfect time to go foraging for this versatile and pungent plant. Today I’ll be sharing my wild garlic pesto recipe, which is both easy to make and a great recipe for first-time wild garlic foragers.
Where to find wild garlic?
With its pungent, garlicky smell, wild garlic is an unmistakable scent in woodlands and forests in the spring months. Wild garlic, also known as Ramsons, can be found growing in shady and damp conditions in forests and ancient woodlands. Areas of the UK that have prolonged dry periods tend to have less Wild Garlic in their area. The wild garlic season starts in late February and lasts until the end of spring. By April, the beautiful flowers start to bloom and can be harvested right the way through to the end of the season in June. If you’re not a fan of foraging, you may be able to find wild garlic at your local farmers market, or you can purchase fresh wild garlic online.
How to identify wild garlic
The green, pointed leaves and little white flowers of wild garlic are easy to identify, making it a good first foray into foraging, but you must be careful when foraging for wild garlic as the leaves look similar to the foliage of Lily of The Valley, but an easy way to differentiate the two is to let your nose guide you. The leaves of garlic will literally smell like pungent garlic, whereas the foliage of Lily of The Valley will have a floral, grassy smell.
Ingredients for Wild Garlic Pesto
Wild garlic: You’ll need a large bunch of fresh, wild garlic. Wild garlic can be a little more difficult to find than some other greens such as nettles, so if you’re unable to find wild garlic, you can use the same amount of foraged nettle leaves instead, just make sure you blanch the leaves before making a pesto out of them.
Olive oil: You’ll need some good quality extra virgin olive oil. I wouldn’t suggest using a different type of oil as it’ll change the flavour of the pesto.
Nutritional yeast: The nutritional yeast will give the pesto a delicious cheesy flavour. If you don’t want to use nutritional yeast, you can leave this ingredient out. Alternatively, you can use vegan parmesan and any other type of vegan hard cheese.
Lemon: you’ll need the zest and juice of a lemon. Make sure to use unwaxed lemons.
Pine Nuts: I’d recommend using toasted pine nuts as they’ll add a deeper, nuttier flavour to the pesto.
Salt and pepper: you’ll need salt and pepper to season the pesto.
How to make Wild Garlic Pesto
Thoroughly wash the wild garlic leaves and use some kitchen towel to pat them dry.
Roughly chop the wild garlic leaves and place in a food processor along with the olive oil, nutritional yeast, lemon zest, lemon juice, toasted pine nuts, salt, and pepper. Turn the food processor on and blitz until you get to your desired consistency. Give it a taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Transfer the pesto to a small-medium-sized jar and top with 1 tsp olive oil. Will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
How to Wild Garlic Pesto
Store the wild garlic pesto in a clean airtight jar. This pesto can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks, though I wouldn’t recommend freezing it.
Notes and Tips
This pesto tastes even better the next day as the flavours are left to marinate, so it’s great for preparing in advance.
You can adjust this recipe to suit your taste by adding additional herbs and seasonings.
You’ll need a large bunch of fresh, wild garlic. Wild garlic can be a little more difficult to find than some other greens such as nettles, so if you’re unable to find wild garlic, you can use the same amount of foraged nettle leaves instead, just make sure you blanch them before making a pesto out of them.
If you don’t want to use nutritional yeast, you can leave this ingredient out. Alternatively, you can use vegan parmesan and any other type of vegan hard cheese.
A hearty Bulgur salad with aromatic fresh herbs, mixed vegetables and a tangy lemon, olive oil and chilli dressing. This salad is perfect for a light lunch or dinner and also great served as a side dish.