If you find ramps at your local farmer’s market, make this ramp pesto! Ramps have a bright, garlicky flavor that is perfect for pesto. Toss it with pasta, spread on sandwiches, or swirl it into a spring soup.

Please welcome Hank as he shares one of his favorite things to make with wild foraged ramps, ramp and parsley pesto. Outstanding with pasta, though I ate half of this straight with a spoon. So good. ~Elise

Ramps arrive in the East Coast well before good basil can be found, so I’ve adapted a classic cool-weather pesto from Liguria, in Northern Italy, that uses walnuts and parsley instead of basil and pine nuts.

Only, in this case, I am substituting the garlic in that pesto for fresh ramps, which are a kind of wild onion that has a pronounced garlic flavor.

How to Keep Your Pesto Green!

I blanch the greens first to keep them vivid; if you don’t do this, your pesto will oxidize and turn brown in a few hours unless you cover it in olive oil.

Substitutes for Ramps

If you can’t find ramps, use green garlic. Both are available at farmer’s markets in spring, although ramps are tough to locate west of Minnesota.

What to Do with Ramp Pesto

In the photo above, the ramp pesto served with white ends of ramps, sautéed in olive oil and sprinkled with lemon zest.

Use can also your ramp pesto just as you would any other pesto: toss it with pasta or in a risotto, spread it on burgers and sandwiches, swirl it into a bowl of soup, or serve it with eggs.

How to Store Ramp Pesto

Keep the pesto covered in the fridge with a thin layer of olive oil over it, and use within a few days. For longer storage, freeze for up to three months.

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