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Wild Ramp (Spring Onion) Pesto Recipe

April 25, 2012

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I was at the farmers’ market this past Saturday, cruising through the rows of vegetables, when I saw something exciting enough to stop me in my tracks. It couldn’t be. It was too early. Could it be? It was. Ramps! And where there are ramps, there's a Wild Ramp (Spring Onion) Pesto recipe to be made!

Ramps, you might ask? As in the inclined walkway? No, no. Ramps are otherwise known as spring onions, ramsons, wild leeks, wood leeks, wild garlic. Scientifically, they’re known as Allium tricoccum. They appear for a fleeting moment at farmers’ markets come spring and have a lovely flavor that can only be described as an onion mixed with garlic. Back when I worked at a farm on the East Coast, we would have samples of ramp pesto for customers to try. It’s incredible. As the person in charge of making said samples, I decided that I was therefore allowed to eat copious amounts of it when customers weren’t around. It’s divine on a sandwich, on crostini, on a potato salad, or simply on a spoon.

Convinced yet? Give this ramp pesto a try. You’ll never think of inclined walkways the same way again.


The ingredients

Baby Cuisinart chopping and grinding its contents into silky, creamy, ramp pesto

Wild ramp pesto! Served as a side with warm pita and bulgur with butternut squash and chard


Wild Ramp (Spring Onion) Pesto


1 bunch ramps

1/2 cup walnuts (toasted)

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

salt and pepper

1/3 cup olive oil (or 1/2 cup—you kind of have to eyeball it)

squirt of lemon juice


1. Wash and cut off the leaves of the ramps.

2. Chop the ramps and walnuts just a bit and put them in your food processor.

3. Add most of the cheese (save a sprinkle for serving) and a good dash of salt and pepper.

4. Pouring the olive oil in slowly, process contents until they combine and look, well . . . pesto-y.

5. Taste for seasoning and add a good squirt of lemon juice.


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Kelsey is a Boston native and current Seattle transplant. When not chasing the sun around the state of Washington she can be found doing crosswords on her commute, rock climbing, biking, organizing as many potlucks as possible, and skiing (mostly spent defending the mighty mountains of the east coast). She loves cooking, sailing and traveling and will take you up on an offer to drink coffee, sit by a fire, and play scrabble any day. 


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Ramps, with their garlic-y

By Emily Adamson

Ramps, with their garlic-y flavor, are one of the most exciting foods I've ever tried! I can't wait to try your pesto recipe, I have a feeling I'll never go back to traditional basil pesto...

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