ramp pesto

May 11, 2011

Ramps. Have you heard of them? How about wild leeks? Okay, because they’re the same thing. Just so we’re all on the same page. I hadn’t heard of them until moving to Minnesota, where they happen to be abundant this time of year.

This weekend marked the first day my local farmers’ market opened for the season. Cue: unabashed delight. Totally one of my favourite things to do in the summer months is to hop on my bike or set off walking down to the Mississippi river and behold all the sights, smells, and sounds of the market. If you come and visit I’m likely to drag you there: you have been warned.

Ramps are garlicky with a real tang to them, hence the lack of garlic in the pesto, since it’s not needed. Fresh Parmesan and toasted walnuts add some creaminess to make this pesto truly dreamy. Do as you would with any other pesto here: stir it into spaghetti, spread it on toast with some melty mozzarella and fresh tomatoes as below, or add it to steaks a la chimichurri. It’ll keep in the fridge, covered, for about a week.

Ramp Pesto


  • 2 bunches of ramps, washed, ends trimmed
  • 1/2 cups Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
  • salt and pepper


  1. In a food processor or blender, combine toasted nuts, ramps, parsley, cheese, and lemon until well-combined. While machine is running, pour in olive oil in a slow, steady stream, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Store covered in the refrigerator, for up to one week. Makes about 1 cup of pesto.
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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

miriam May 11, 2011 at 6:45 am

I, unfortunately, have not heard of ramps either but if they’re garlicky, can be pureed and pesto-ified then I’m a fan!
PS Just came across this blog from your guest post on Eat, Live, Run. I have a VERY similar English/American (born in US, grew up in England, moved back to US) background and it was, therefore, rather fantastic to find this! Looking forward to reading more :)


Angharad May 11, 2011 at 10:00 am

Hi Miriam! I’m so glad you found me through my guest post for Jenna! It’s so nice to hear about people with similar experiences to mine. Hope you enjoy reading all my British/American ramblings!


Rhona @ Redwinerunner.co.uk May 11, 2011 at 6:52 am

Interesting – I’ve never seen them before, and what a weird name! They look like anorexic rhubarb.


brandi May 11, 2011 at 8:43 am

I have never had ramps, but I want to! I know they grow around here, but I’ve never seen them in our market.


Jessica @ How Sweet May 11, 2011 at 9:06 am

This sounds so delicious. Drooling over that last picture!


Lauren at Keep It Sweet May 11, 2011 at 10:20 am

I’ve never used ramps and I actually haven’t yet made my own pesto. I’d love to try your recipe!


my little celebration May 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Looks great! beautiful pictures!


Ruth May 11, 2011 at 1:42 pm

This looks really, really good! Perfect for some sourdough toast!


Ffion @ Chocolate and Raspberries May 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I’ve never heard of them, but I’m definitly putting pesto on my sarnies for tomorrow lunchtime!


Hayley @ Oat Couture May 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Wow, this looks amazing!! However I am a little biased as I consider pesto to be a main food group! :) I haven’t seen anything even resembling ramps here in Cyprus though… hmmm. Was actually searching for british blogs (being a fellow brit myself) and somehow came across you! Very glad I did! Lovely blog.


Angharad May 16, 2011 at 10:23 am

Thanks for your comment, Hayley! I’m glad you found Eating for England in your quest for British blogs :) I think ramps are fond of cooler climates than Cyprus would provide sadly! But I’m not sure you can be too jealous with all the gorgeous food you must get there!


Hayley @ Oat Couture June 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Absolutely delayed response I know but… Yeah I thought as much! :( I actually got to try ramps last week whilst on holiday! Delicious on toast with some goats cheese! :) Now I wish I could get them here even more! Ignorance was bliss in this case!

Lisa Fine May 17, 2011 at 12:17 pm

This looks great! I’ve been trying to think of just the right recipe to make with the ramps I bought at the farmers’ market last week.

How many would you say make a bunch?



Angharad May 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Hi Lisa! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. The number of ramps is going to depend because some bunches have small stalks and some have large stalks but the ones I used, had about 8 individual stalks in a bunch. Pesto is one of those wonderfully forgiving things that you can play with. If it seems like you’ve used too many, add more of the other ingredients. Taste as you go. Hope that helps!


holly May 18, 2011 at 11:31 am

YUM! i had no idea what ramps were. but this looks delicious. i scammed a co-worker into bringing me lots of her fresh basil from her garden, so pesto is most definitely in my future…


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