It’s not too late to get out into the woods and pick some of your own wild garlic! In the UK and much of Europe, it grows prolifically in shaded, damp woodland areas and riverbanks from March, when the leaves are young and tender. Later in the spring and early summer the leaves grow larger and can become a little stringy, so just look for patches where the smaller, tender young leaves are growing.
This vegan wild garlic pesto is so deliciously fragrant, vibrant, and flavoursome. Just add a big dollop of it to cooked pasta and stir through some other nice greens or wilted spinach for a quick and delicious dinner. There’s nothing more satisfying than cooking and eating food that you’ve foraged yourself, especially when it tastes this good, I promise!
Wild garlic is a great place to start if you’re new to foraging, but always make sure you can 100% positively identify anything before you eat it. Here’s a great round up of wild garlic foraging tips by Countryfile to get you started.
If you don’t have access to wild garlic or you’ve left it a bit late in the year, you can still make delicious vegan pesto by substituting the wild garlic for more fresh basil, parsley, spinach, rocket )arugula) or cress. Just add a clove of garlic to replace that lovely garlicky hit that any good pesto needs.
If you like foraging, you’ll also love this vegan nettle dhal recipe with instructions on how to pick your own nettles!
Vegan wild garlic pesto recipe
Ingredients (serves 6):
120ml olive oil
80g wild garlic (thoroughly washed)
80g fresh basil
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
Start by preparing your nuts (this step is optional but adds a beautiful depth of flavour to your pesto).
Roast the hazelnuts in your oven at 180C (360F) for 8-10 minutes until the skins begin to darken. You can then remove most of the skins by rubbing the roasted hazelnuts between a folded clean tea towel, this step ensures your pesto stays a vibrant green colour without the dark hazelnut skins. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan, tossing them frequently for a few minutes until they are golden and fragrant.
Now blitz the hazelnuts and pine nuts in a food processor until they are coarsely ground. Then add all the other pesto ingredients to the processor, and whizz everything up, until you reach the desired consistency.
Taste a bit of the pesto and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, lemon, or maple syrup, depending on how the flavours are balancing.
Stir a big dollop of the pesto through some cooked pasta, and enjoy!
Nutrition (per serving):
Protein: 5.5g (Women: 11.0% / Men: 10.0%)
Iron: 2.9mg (Women: 19.6% / Men: 33.3%)
Calories: 355 (Women: 17.8% / Men: 14.2%)
Total Fats: 36.8g (Women: 40.9% / Men: 30.7%)
Saturated Fat: 3.9g (Women: 19.5% / Men: 13.0%)
Salt: 0.2g (Women: 3.3% / Men: 3.3%)
Fibre: 3.3g (Women: 11.0% / Men: 11.0%)
See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.