This is simple to make and absolutely delicious. Vegan Wild Garlic Pesto is an amazingly versatile spring time condiment. It has a slightly punchier flavour than traditional Basil Pesto, making it a very distinctive and delicious alternative.
You can use it just as you would a traditional Pesto. It's great spread in a sandwich, stirred through pasta, or mixed with Vegan Mayo, Hummus or Cashew Cream as a dip.
Wild Garlic is abundant in Spring, we always forage a large amount of it, and turn it into our delicious and versatile Pestos or Soup. Also, unlike a traditional Pesto, we make this one with Walnuts. This gives it a big Omega 3 boost as well as it being a bit more budget friendly, compared to using Pine Nuts.
We love the Spring. The flowers in bloom, the trees coming to life, the weather improving and the days getting longer. It's also the time of year when the Wild Garlic carpets some of our local woodlands. We're out all year seasons walking with the kids, and foraging is something that we have always loved to do. For us, the Wild Garlic is one of the first crops of the year, and so signifies the start of it all.
What You'll Need
- Lemon - Lemon Juice and Zest are both used in our Wild Garlic Pesto recipe. It's light and refreshing, as well as being delicious.
- Nutritional Yeast - AKA a Vegan's magic answer to 'Cheese'. It's used throughout Vegan cooking as it has a cheesy taste that you don't get anywhere else. We use it on our Vegan Mac & Cheese, and Vegan Parmesan. Here it is used to replace the tradition animal based Parmesan. You will find this in most supermarkets/stores. And almost guaranteed to find it in all health/whole food stores. Alternatively you can buy online. It is typically fortified with Vitamin B12, which makes it a great dietary source. Check on the packaging to ensure it is fortified before purchasing.
- Olive Oil - Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the highest quality Olive Oil, and lends better to foods like Pesto, Dips and Salad Dressings. However, that being said, due to the process of cold pressing and checking EVOO, it makes it more expensive than other oils. So if it's out of your available budget, regular Olive Oil will work just fine.
- Walnuts - One of the most reliable sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. They also have the highest antioxidant levels compared to other nuts. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are vital for almost everything our bodies and brains do due to being an integral part of our cell membranes. These fats are essentials fats, meaning we must obtain them through diet, as our bodies cannot make them. Omega 3's are crucial for brain growth and development in infants. And higher intake of these during pregnancy has links to higher intelligence and fewer behavioral issues. Handy tip - You can also use Walnuts as a meat replacement in Bolognese and Chilli recipes.
- Wild Garlic - Wild Garlic is abundant with Vitamin C making a great immunity boosting food. Wild Garlic is also used in Herbal Medicine for its many health benefits such as ailing common coughs and colds, asthma, indigestion and toothache. You can read up more about the medicinal properties on eatweeds.co.uk, Robin is a great resource for herbal medicines and foraging. Never underestimate the power of plants!
- Food Processor
- Roasting/Oven Tray
- Sharp Knife
- Glass Storage Jar
- Zester (or a standard Grater with a Zester)
How to Make it
Roasting and blitzing the Walnuts
- Steps 1 & 2 - Spread the Walnuts on an oven tray and roast them in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the Walnuts from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Steps 3 & 4 - Add the Walnuts to the food processor, blitz on a high speed for 10 seconds, until you have a fine crumb as seen in picture 4 above. Next, add them to a bowl and put to one side.
Making the Pesto
- Step 1 - Put the Ingredients, except for the Walnuts and the Nutritional Yeast, to the food processor and blitz.
- Step 2 - Add the Walnuts and pulse together until well combined.
- Step 3 - Add the Nutritional Yeast.
- Step 4 - Then pulse everything together again in the food processor until you reach a Pesto consistency (4).
Vegan Wild Garlic Pesto can be stored in the fridge (with a top layer of oil*) for 2-3 weeks.
You can also easily store it in the freezer. Try storing the Pesto in small pots, so you can take out and use smaller portions as and when needed. As a result, you'll be able to enjoy it without risking your whole batch going off before you get a chance to eat it all.
*Adding a layer of oil to the top of your jar of Pesto acts a preservative and prevents mould from growing.
Try not to over-blend your Pesto, as this could result in a Puree consistency instead of a Pesto. To avoid this happening, we recommend you pulse the ingredients together (as opposed to sticking on to blend for several minutes). This will allow you to have more control over the consistency.
- A jar of this in the fridge makes for a delicious 5 minute meal if you simply toss it through some freshly cooked pasta. We love to then sprinkle it generously with our Vegan Parmesan.
- We enjoy this Wild Garlic Pesto in many different ways. It makes for a delicious pasta sauce, is amazing in sandwiches and makes a fantastic dip if you mix it 50/50 with some Vegan Mayonnaise.
If kept in the fridge in an airtight container this will keep for 2-3 weeks. Cover the top of the pesto with a little olive oil, each time after use to keep the pesto at its best.
Yes you can. This freezes really well if put it in an airtight container or a ziplock bag and it will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. (We've kept it for even longer than this, and it has still been fine).
You can try making this with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds instead if you want to make it nut free.
Other Pesto and Wild Garlic ideas
Here are a few of our other Delicious Wild Garlic Recipes and other Pestos that you might like to try.
Vegan Wild Garlic Pesto with Walnuts
- Food Processor
- Oven Tray
- Sharp Knife
- Glass Storage Jar
- Zester (or Grater with zester)
- 200 g Wild Garlic
- 100 g Unroasted Walnuts
- 1 Lemon Zest
- ½ Lemon Juice
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 4 ½ tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
- ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus a little extra for topping the pesto
- Preheat: Preheat the oven to 140 °C / 275°F / Gas Mark 3
- Roast: Spread the Walnuts on an oven tray and roast for 8-10 minutes.
- Cool: Remove the Walnuts from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. It may be quicker to transfer them to a different plate to do this, instead of leaving them on the hot tray.
- Crumb: Put the Roasted Walnuts into a food processor and blitz to an even crumb, then pour into a bowl and set aside for later.
- Blitz: Add all of the other ingredients, except for the Nutritional Yeast, into the Food Processor and pulse until an even, Pesto like consistency.
- Pulse: Add the Blitzed Walnuts and the Nutritional Yeast to the Food Processor and pulse to incorporate into the Pesto.
- Store: Transfer your Pesto into a jar, spread the top out evenly and then cover with 1 ½ tablespoons of Olive Oil.