Friday, 24 May 2013

Spring Foraging ~ Wild Garlic and love for Pesto!

Spring has finally arrived! Whilst out walking the other day, our path was carpeted with the distinctive smell of sweet garlic wafting above sheets of vibrant green spears. 'Wild garlic!' I shouted, excitedly fumbling through my bag instantly to see if I had carrier bags to collect some of the tempting leaves. I did, and we were soon down in the sea of green, plucking the stems to gather a bag full to take home. My mind was ticking over all of the things that I could make with them... Pesto, pasta, potato salads. Wild garlic (also known as Ramsons) is one of the first really yummy wild greens to pop up in spring, blooming beautiful white star shaped flowers from April until June. It is a seasonal bulbous perennial that grows widespread in damp woods and hedge banks. It often smells stronger than it actually tastes, with its sweet and juicy with a waft-of-garlic taste. Making the leaves into pesto is my favourite way of using wild garlic, as you don’t need to add garlic to your pesto as usual, and as a way of preserving these amazing leaves for many months. This delicious paste can be stored and added to pasta dishes, as a spread on sandwiches or raw-crackers, as a dip for vegetables or stirred into cooked or sprouted grains such as quinoa or buckwheat. 

Wild garlic pesto with creamy millet and marinaded veggies

Serves 2

For the Pesto (makes 1 jar, enough for leftovers to keep)
2 handfuls Wild garlic leaves
½ cup nuts/seeds (pine nuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans…)
1 cup Rapeseed oil/Olive oil
1 Tbsp Nutritional yeast flakes
½ tsp salt

Put the nuts or seeds at the bottom of a blender, add oil and blend until the nuts are broken down. Add the washed and torn wild garlic leaves and stems, salt and nutritional yeast flakes if using. Blend until creamy, then transfer into jars, pouring a little more olive oil ontop of the pesto to keep it from discolouring. Store in the fridge.

For the marinaded vegetables
1 courgette
1 red/yellow pepper
4 small brown mushrooms
1 red onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp olive oil

Slice the courgette, pepper, mushrooms and onion into slices about 1/2 cm thick and place in a shallow baking dish. Crush the garlic and toss over the vegetables with the tamari and oil. Leave to marinade for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. If you have a dehydrator, you can pop the dish in and dry for 1-4 hours at 42 deg C, and serve the vegetables warm.

For the creamy millet
1 tbsp ghee/ coconut oil
1/2c millet
2 c  boiling water

Heat the ghee or oil in a saucepan and add the millet. Toast gently for a couple of minutes until a few of the grains start to pop, then add the boiled water. Turn down to a simmer, then cover and leave undisturbed for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for another 5-10 minutes before fluffing up with a fork.

To serve
Split the millet between bowls, add a big dollop of pesto and stir roughly to swirl the pesto in. Spoon some of the marinaded vegetables over the millet, drizzling some of the marinade ontop. Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, sprouted beans or what ever crunchy protein you have to hand.

Ps.. I love to make seasonal pestos using different flavoursome herbs throughout the year, so expect to see some more 'alternative' pesto recipes in the future! Whats your favourite ingredient to make into pesto??


  1. How long would you expect the pesto to last?
    Do you have a picture of the Wild Garlic in it's natural state? I'd love to know what I'm looking for :) xx

  2. It lasts in the fridge for about a month (probably more) or can be frozen. I failed to take a photo whilst I as gathering but if you google it you will see lots of pics! It has long wide green leaves with pretty star shaped white flowers xx