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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