Dips & Sauces

VEGAN WILD GARLIC PESTO | NUT FREE

Vegan wild garlic pesto made with foraged wild garlic leaves and pumpkin seeds makes this a super affordable, easy to make and vibrant spring condiment full of flavour.

Plate full of washed and dried wild garlic leaves

A little backstory on my foraging attempt…

I never thought I’d be saying this sentence but……….. I went foraging. Well we failed at foraging, but I’ll let you read on and be the judge of that.

This little foraging outing was inspired by a friend from work; Who I was very jealous of when she showed me the amount of wild garlic she had collected when out with her daughter last year.

This Pesto recipe was made after the Second time we went looking for wild garlic. The first time… we ended up walking straight past the woodland area FULL of Wild garlic. We did end up finding some but had to climb up a steep bank on the side of the road to pick it.

Second time around armed with a little map via WhatsApp we managed to find the woodland area where it grows…. and there was so. much. garlic.!!! and no steep hills to climb!

The ingredients you will need to make this wild garlic pesto

  • Wild Garlic – washed and dried
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Lemon – unwaxed
  • Nutritional yeast or Vegan Parmesan
  • Olive Oil
  • Spinach – Optional, but I like to add it for extra nutritional goodness.
small pot and spoon of wild garlic pesto

What makes this wild garlic pesto recipe so great:

This pesto costs next to nothing when you use free wild garlic leaves provided by good old mother nature and pumpkin seeds, which happen to be dirt cheap, especially compare to the traditionally used pine nuts, which are very tasty but so expensive.

The only premium ingredients are the vegan Parmesan and the extra virgin olive oil, but you are welcome to swap it with another type of neutral-tasting oil instead.

small pot of wild garlic pesto

What to use this wild garlic pesto on:

  • Swirled through pasta.
  • Served with buttery new potatoes
  • Dolloped on roasted veg
  • Spread on bruschetta toast or to jazz up hummus and dips – it will put a smile on your face, whatever you add it to.

Looking for other spring recipes to try?

PS: If you make my wild garlic pesto, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @basilandbay and use the #basilandbayrecipes hashtag. I’d love to see your takes on my recipes!

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Wild Garlic and Pumpkin Seed Pesto

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 300ml Approx 1x
  • Category: Dip, Garnish, Sauce
  • Cuisine: British

Description

Swap your usual basil pesto recipe for this seasonal low cost one with a punchy twist.

Perfect swirled through pasta, served with buttery new potatoes, on roasted veg, on bruschetta toast or to jazz up hummus and dips.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 65g or 1/2 cup Toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 200g or 6 2/3 cups  Wild garlic leaves and stems (Wash before use) *  **
  • 1 Lemon (unwaxed) Juice and zest
  • 4 Tbsp Nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp finely grated Vegan Parmesan (Optional)
  • 120ml or 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 200g or 6 2/3 cups Spinach 

Instructions

  1. Wash wild garlic leaves really well in cold water I sometimes add a dash of white vinegar to the mix to get rid of any nasties. I
  2. If you have one – dry the leaves in a salad spinner, if you don’t – blot them with a kitchen towel or simply leave to air-dry in a single layer on a towel.
  3. Heat a pan over a med-low heat.
  4. Dry-roast the pumpkin seeds in the hot pan. While they are toasting, they will make popping or crackling noises. Stir them occasionally to prevent them from burning.
  5. Remove from heat once the seeds start getting golden brown and / or skins rack.
  6. Transfer the toasted seeds to a cold plate to cool down. Do not add them to your pesto whilst warm.
  7. Place all the pesto ingredients apart from the olive oil into a food processor.
  8. I used 4 tbsp / ¼ cup of lemon juice in my pesto, as I like things to be lemony, so you may want to adjust the amount to your taste.
  9. Process until the mix is chopped small and then start trickling in olive oil while the processor is going on the lowest setting.
  10. Add Salt and Pepper if needed / to taste.
  11. Transfer the pesto to a clean sterilised jar. The pesto will keep in the fridge for a week or two so long as the top is covered with a layer of olive oil. 
  12. If you wish to Freeze the pesto to use at a later date. Freeze it in small freezer safe containers, or like I do – freeze in a ice cube tray and once frozen transfer the cubes to a ziplock bag.

Notes

  • *If you want to tone down the punchy Wild Garlic flavour slightly, or stretch the ingredients a bit further –  Add in 1 – 2  handfuls of spinach. This will add to the vibrant green colour, and will “bulk” out the mixture and tone down the strength of the pesto.
  • Many nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios and hazelnuts) or seeds; hemp seeds or sunflower seeds will work well too. 

If you use sunflower seeds your pesto will be lighter in colour compared to it being made with Pumpkin seeds

  • **Please familiarise yourself with the shape and smell of wild garlic leaves before you set out as it is quite similar to another plant, lily of the valley, which is deadly poisonous. Please check out this article  or this one for useful information regarding responsible foraging. 

Keywords: Wild Garlic, Pesto

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