Vegan and nut free wild garlic (ramson or bärlauch) pesto made with hemp & sunflower seeds. No cheese, no nutritional yeast, no problem.
Wild garlic or ramsons (bärlauch, literally bear leek in German) are everywhere at this time of year. It’s the first edible thing, really, to pop up in the spring and people are obsessed for the first little while before everyone gets sick of it closer to the end of the season. This vegan pesto is a great way to use the abundance of wild garlic, even if you don’t get tired of it. It’s on the thicker side, so it can be used as a sandwich spread as well as in pasta, pizza, and wherever else you’d usually use pesto. The paler green colour is because it has a pile of seeds in it – which also makes it surprisingly high in protein – and the flavour of the wild garlic comes through without being overwhelming. There are piles of sunflower seed based sandwich breads available here and this is a bit like that, but not quite as thick.
I haven’t shared very many recipes with wild garlic, but this spring greens salad with an avocado wild garlic sauce is a favourite from last year. Keep your eyes open for a pesto pizza coming up tomorrow, though, and maybe some more wild garlic recipes before the season is over! I haven’t been able to find any in the woods but a friend transplanted some in her garden several years ago and they’ve gone wild, so she has more than she can use. Lucky me, hey? I’ll definitely have a patch in my future dream garden, whenever (if ever) that happens, hah.
If you live in the US or Canada, you might be more familiar with ramps, not ramsons. Ramps are wild leeks but the flavour is very similar and they can be used interchangeably in this recipe. They can be found pretty readily at farmer’s markets around this time of year, maybe a little later depending on where you live, and have risen in popularity in the last few years. They’re more common further east than in western areas, so if you see some, snatch them up and make some pesto!
Wild Garlic Hemp and Sunflower Seed Pesto
- 70 grams / 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 40 grams / 1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds hemp hearts
- 30 grams / 1 cup wild garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Pinch of coconut sugar
- 2 lemons juice (~1/3 cup)
- 60 ml / 1/4 cup olive oil
Add the seeds, garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, and lemon juice to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Blend on high until mostly smooth, and then add the olive oil in a slow drizzle while blending until combined. Continue to mix until as smooth as possible.
Serve mixed with pasta, on bread, pizza, or crackers, or mix into salad dressing. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
• My food processor isn't particularly strong, so my pesto isn't completely smooth. It's still good but a high powered processor will likely result in a smoother texture.