Ramp pesto Tame your wild leeks, and turn them into a creamy pasta sauce

Ramp pesto

Take advantage of ramp season while you can!

Because ramps are only available for a few short weeks at the beginning of spring, you have to relish them while you can. Today, the dainty wild leeks find their way into a truly delicious pesto.

Quick and easy prep; delicious result

When consumed raw, ramps are just as pungent, spicy and overwhelming to the taste buds as raw garlic. But they become sweet and mild when cooked… so, to make this pesto, the ramps are sautéed in a bit of butter until wilted, then blended with the other ingredients. The pesto comes out creamy and delicately flavored – nothing short of dreamy!

Serve this pesto with spaghettini or linguini fini; or with hand-shaped pastas like Trofie, Cavatelli or Orecchiette.

You might also enjoy this recipe

Soufflé Omelet with Robiola and Sautéed Ramps

Ramps | Wild leeks | Wild garlic | Allium tricoccum

You can find ramps at your local farmers’ market or online at Melissa’s Produce.

More pesto recipes

Basil pesto – One that will stay bright green!
Kale pesto
Arugula pesto
Mint-walnut pesto

Ramp pesto

makes 3/4 cup
active time: 20 min

  1. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 6 oz (170 g) ramps – root ends trimmed, stalks and leaves cut in 1/4″ slices (2 1/2 cups)
  3. 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (use a microplane grater)
  4. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  5. 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  6. 1/3 cup finely grated Reggiano Parmesan
  7. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  8. 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  1. Heat a large heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat and add the butter. As soon as the butter has melted, add the ramps. Stir well and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the ramps are wilted and have turned a shade darker, stirring from time to time. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Place the sautéed ramps in the bowl of a food processor. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, salt and olive oil and process for about 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture forms a creamy paste, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice. Transfer to a container. Use right away, refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

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Ramp pesto

sauces, pesto, ramps

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16 Comments

  • Reply Toni Hover May 19, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    I am disappointed to hear about places like Whole Foods carrying Wild Ramps, wild as in the only way they grow. When over harvested they will disappear. Here in Vermont I have begun to see them in some stores, but they are best sought from deep in the forest where taking some ramps will not diminish the crop. That being said, we have collected every spring but the bounty this year has been excellent, and I like this recipe, especially the suggestion to sauce the ramps first. I think that and adding the basil (which we always have frozen) may make for an improved and less bitter pesto. Thank you for the recipe.

  • Reply Claudia April 21, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Made this for the 1st time 2 wks ago and making it again tonight! Easy, healthy, unusual, fresh tasting and fast. I love it over gnocchi and peas, sometimes bacon, with a simple side salad.

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre April 22, 2016 at 1:29 am

      Claudia, I am delighted you love this pesto… and you’re pairing it with all the right things. Yum!

  • Reply lisaiscooking May 2, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    I think I actually saw some ramps at our Whole Foods the other day. We usually don’t see them here. I hope they’re still there. I’d love to try this pesto!

  • Reply RavieNomNoms April 28, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    I have very little experience with ramp, but this looks awesome!!

  • Reply Evelyne@cheapethniceatz April 27, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    I am not familiar with ramp, must get my hands on some now, the pesto looks fab!

  • Reply Daniela April 26, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Wild garlic is one of mother natures best spring gifts. We use them a lot here in Austria, but I’ve never made wild garlic pesto.
    It looks and sounds fantastic.

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre April 27, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Daniela, I totally agree! Ramps (wild garlic) are such a wonderful gift. Enjoy this beautiful pesto!

  • Reply Cathy April 25, 2015 at 3:21 am

    Yum! Now I have to go hunt down some ramps.

  • Reply Angie (@angiesrecipess) May 2, 2014 at 10:13 am

    I LOVE wild garlic. The pesto made them tastes so aromatic and great. Thanks for sharing, Viviane.

    • Reply Viviane May 2, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      You are most welcome, Angie!

    Question or comment? I'd love to hear from you!