People are always saying to eat your greens. I can't argue with them. Especially when it comes to pesto!
There may not be anything greener than RAMP PESTO!!!!
Time for Ramp Pesto
You know I am always down for trying a new pesto recipe. This year I really wanted to try making pesto out of wild ramp leaves. And since I never had as many ramps before as I did after going to the ramp festival in Peninsula, Ohio, this was the year to do it.
The leaves I used from were leftover from making pickled ramps with the bulbs. Get the recipe for Pickled Ramps
The beauty of using ramp leaves to make pesto is that you can totally leave out the garlic and let that rampy flavor shine and boy does it shine.
Using and Cleaning the Ramp Leaves
For this recipe we are using just the leaves of the ramps. I slice the ramps just above the stem. The stems can be tough so I mainly reserve them for the stock pot - which they add a lot of flavor to.
Ramps are pretty dirty. So you gotten clean them up. I never do this until right before I use them. You don't want them to be too wet when they are in the fridge or they will get slimy. Yuck.
To clean them I run them under some cold water. If you want you can dry them out by putting them into a salad spinner.
Other Pesto Ingredients
Besides the ramps there are three ingredients you need in a pesto (besides salt).
You need a nutty component. I like salted, roasted shelled sunflower seeds. Pine nuts might be the best, but their price tag sure isn't unless someone else is buying, then by all means partake. Using sunflower seeds helps the food budget without sacrificing too much flavor.
Next up you need acid. Why is this important? Without it a source of acid, that beautiful green color you see above would not be so beautiful. My source of acid is citrus - either lemons or limes - whatever you have on hand. This time around I used the juice of half a lime. This adds enough acid to keep the pesto nice and green as well as adding just a hint of lime flavor.
The last component you need is oil. Oil is for body and flavor. It gives the pesto a smooth consistency. This is a time to use extra virgin olive oil, but don't feel the need to break out the most fanciest stuff you got. Save that for the next baguette. Do keep in mind you may need to stir up the pesto for each use as the oil will separate.
What Does Ramp Pesto Taste Like?
It's pretty strong stuff. A little goes along way which is good because ramps aren't cheap - unless you forage for them yourself.
I really love the color of the pesto. It's so bright and so fresh looking. This is especially exciting at the end of a long winter. Since I can't even plant basil yet in my garden, this is the perfect pesto for the season.
What To Use Ramp Pesto For?
You can use it just like you would a basil pesto. Serve it on top of some good pasta. Fresh bread from the oven sounds even greater. The way that I used it was smeared on top of a turkey burger. Turkey burgers never tasted good. It's also fun to think outside of the burger box and use a condiment other than ketchup and mustard.
What would you wan to use ramp pesto for?
- 8 ounces ramps, bulbs removed and saved for another use
- ¼ cup roasted shelled sunflower seeds
- ¼-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice of ½ a lime
- kosher salt & black pepper to taste
- In a food processor, add the ramp leaves. Process until smooth.
- Add the sunflowers and the lime juice. Process to combine.
- With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, until you reach the consistency you like.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate or use immediately.