This wild garlic pesto is a refreshing change to a classic basil pesto. Easy to make, this pesto sauce combines spring garlic (also known as ramsons) with Italian flat-leaf parsley, roasted hazelnuts, parmesan, olive oil and citrusy lemon. Perfect served with pasta, gnocchi, roast potatoes or even as a spread for sandwiches. This is something you don’t want to miss this spring.
Where to find wild garlic
In spring, wild garlic grows naturally in in shade or partial shade of deciduous forests; more frequently in the foothills of the Alps. It can be found in mid-March, and all the way into April and May when the white wild garlic flowers bloom. You’ll recognize them by the great green carpets they create and their undeniable smell of garlic. Every year when I head to Sommerau in Salzburg for my spring “Basen-Fasten” week with friends, we collect droves of it to bring home so we can enjoy the last wild garlic of the season.
Other ideas on how to use wild garlic pesto
- Pasta of course, is the obvious choice.
- Add a dollop of the pesto to creme cheese and spread on your morning bread or toast.
- Serve crisp oven roasted potatoes with pesto on the side
- Make a tomato and mozzarella sandwich with wild garlic pesto on half and a sun-dried tomato on the other. How about adding a little peppery arugula? Delish!
Looking for other wild garlic recipes?
Then try this wild garlic risotto recipe. It’s delicious! Or check my archive for more pest ideas.
Wild Garlic Pesto
- 1 bunch wild garlic
- 1 small bunch parsley, thick stems removed
- 50 g hazelnuts, toasted & skinned
- 50 g Parmesan grated
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more
- zest and juice of 1/2 organic lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- pinch of chili flakes (optional)
To serve (optional):
- 500 g dried pasta of choice plus 125 ml reserved cooking water, to thin pesto
- blanched green asparagus & peas
Place the wild garlic and parsley in a food processor. Process until quite well broken up.
Add the grated parmesan and process further (this helps further break down the garlic and parsley leaves).
Then add the roasted hazelnuts, salt, pepper, lemon zest and lemon juice. Turn the machine back on, and add olive oil to your desired consistency.
- Bunch sizes can vary. I use equal parts wild garlic and parsley.
- Store-bought roasted hazelnuts can be used for this recipe, otherwise roast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts, stirring them to color evenly, until the skins char in places and begin to split and flake, about 10 minutes. Transfer the nuts into a clean kitchen towel and wrap the towel around them. Rub the nuts against one another inside the towel to remove the skins. Do not worry if some bits of skin remain.
- Homemade pesto lasts for 4 to 5 days in the fridge (or longer if stored properly), so I I usually double this recipe. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and seal closed in a Weck glass to keep the pesto green.
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