There’s something about wild garlic that sounds exotic, however, it is found in abundance growing wild in Ireland and when you taste my recipe for wild garlic and pumpkin seed pesto it will make every other pesto pale in comparison. You will wonder why you haven’t made it before or rather why you often walk past wild garlic growing locally without picking some.
I am lucky enough to have relatives who have bunches of wild garlic growing in their fields but I have often gone to the local meadow to pick some when I am running low. With so few ingredients you would almost believe that this pesto would be light in flavour but you couldn’t be more wrong. This wild garlic pesto with pumpkin seeds punches above its weight in flavour and fragrance. You know this the moment you lift the lid off the food processor. The aroma hits you in the face like a bolt out of the blue. Yes, really. You know it will taste good before you even try it!
Instead of adding the traditional pine nuts to this recipe I add toasted pumpkin seeds. Their nutty, sweet flavour marries perfectly with the wild garlic to render it more subtle so it doesn’t bite you in the face! And with added lime zest and a squeeze of lime juice at the end it adds a touch of the Mediterranean to this recipe as well as enhancing its flavour and giving it some zing. Citrus juice also preserves the lovely green colour of the wild garlic.
It tastes amazing on bread or simply tossed in a bowl of pasta sprinkled with parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast. I also make a wild garlic pesto salad dressing by adding extra lime juice and olive oil with a few tablespoons of wild garlic and pumpkin seed pesto.
Also scientifically known as Ramsons, wild garlic is found growing wild in many parts of Ireland. In fact, some people mistake it as a weed as it can take over meadows and gardens. It is less pungent in flavour than bulbed garlic but tastes much fresher and can be used in place of many herbs. Wild garlic is best eaten raw as it loses its flavour when cooked which is why it works well with my recipe for wild garlic and pumpkin seed pesto and in salads and dressings. It is easy to recognise wild garlic as the leaves are lily like in appearance with flowers which resemble white bluebells. Just rub the leaves between your fingers and you will know it is wild garlic from its smell! Wild garlic has many health benefits and acts as a natural antibiotic, regulating blood sugar levels and is also excellent for cardiovascular health.
While most people discard the seeds of a pumpkin, pumpkin seeds are surprisingly easy to roast and eat as a delicious snack. They are high in Vitamin A, B1, B2 and B3 and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. They contain monounsaturated fats and phytosterols to provide health benefits. Simply wash and dry the seeds by exposing them to the air for at least 24 hours. Toss them in olive oil and bake in a preheated oven at 150˚C/300˚F for 30 minutes.
Wild Garlic and Pumpkin Seed Pesto
- 120g wild garlic
- 80g pumpkin seeds
- 70g grated fresh parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast)
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- 1 teaspoon lime juice, optional
- Wash and dry the wild garlic. Place in a food processor with the pumpkin seeds.
- Pulse together for 30 seconds then using a spatula push down the excess from the sides. Pulse again.
- Add the grated parmesan and mix slowly. Add the lime zest and mix well.
- On a low speed drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice until well combined.
- Store in a jar with a tight lid in the fridge until required.
Note: Wild rocket leaves may be used instead of wild garlic in this recipe
If you like this then you will love my recipe for wild mushroom, leek and walnut pie.