Wild garlic is a relatively new thing to me, it doesn't grow in Australia, and here in the UK it isn't particularly celebrated although it's a really common woodland plant. So this recipe Vegan Wild Garlic Pesto has become somewhat of a seasonal obsession with me.
I first tried wild garlic a few years ago in Germany, and thought it was one of those cool German/ Northern European foods that I would just have to savour when on the continent as I had never seen it around here in London.
But then I discovered that wild garlic was easy to find here in the UK too. I think I may have seen an article in The Guardian about foraging for it. And then I found ridiculously overpriced bunches of it at a farmers market and knowing a bit about it, decided to research it a bit further. It was said to be really easy to forage for, in woods, where bluebells are, and near streams. Which we have plenty of in our patch of forest. So, off I went for a spring walk. Up, and down, poking my nose around all the likely areas.. Nope.
None. None over there..
None over under that bit of wood
None... no wild garlic. WHY????
Why had I not found any I moaned, WHYYYY!!!! ....
Moan moan moan...
So I bought that overpriced bunch at the market, and was the stinkiest person on the tube on the way home.... and then made pesto out of it, leaving the pretty flower buds and a few leaves in a vase, justifying the expensive bunch by getting it to do double duty as decoration.
And it is a pretty plant, with little white starry flowers and glossy green leaves...and quite a distinctive aroma.
A few days later, The Gardener & I were walking home from work, up the hill, a hill I walk up every day, and past a little wood that leads into the forest. And he said " look at all those pretty white flowers carpeting the forest floor over there." and then he said....
"Hang on! They look like the wild garlic flowers you have in the vase on the kitchen table"
And promptly scrambled through the undergrowth..
And dear reader.. It is the most enormous patch of wild garlic.
Less than 100 metres from my house.
I was walking past them EVERY DAY!
So... Now I have a super supply of springs yummiest allium, what am I going to do with them??
Well. First of all, Wild Garlic Pesto, obviously. Pesto is brilliant- it can be used in so many things, and best of all- This pesto is super easy to make, AND is dairy free. I guessed the quantities a bit, but this should make you a good jar full.
All you need to do is slick a thin layer of olive oil over the top to help preserve it and pop it in the fridge ready to swirl into pasta, spread on sandwiches or use to create a tangy salad dressing.
🌱Wild Garlic Pesto FAQ
You can find it in shady wooded areas that are often on a slope or near a stream. Or find it seasonally at Farmers Markets.
Yes it is! It's also known as bear garlic (bearlauch in German) or broad leaved garlic
Cut the top part only. Don't pick it from the bulb, to ensure you leave some that will regrow next year. And only pick what you need! Try to pick away from paths where dogs might have been doing their business. And always wash it!
You can use pumpkin or sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, almonds or walnuts.
If you put a layer of olive oil over the top, it lasts for about a week in the fridge. I also freeze it in ice cube trays, then pop out the frozen cubes and keep in a container in the freezer ready to put into pasta or risottos.
Wild garlic pesto is used in all these yummy dishes: Try one and let us know what you think!
- Make sure you wash, then wash again the wild garlic as there will be gritty bits, and no one wants gritty pesto
- Shove everything in a food processer and blitz.
- Stop every now and then and scrape down the sides of the processer
- Blitz until smooth- taste for salt
- Transfer to a glass jar & add a bit of olive oil over the top
- Keep in the fridge and use in everything!