If there is one smell that brings back happy memories of my childhood, it’s the smell of wild garlic. It grows in abundance along the road by my childhood home and always reminds me of Spring.
Wild garlic works brilliantly in soups and salads. It makes an amazing pesto and, during Spring, is one of the most versatile condiments in my kitchen.
Pesto isn’t just for pasta, however. It also makes an amazing dip for veggies and crackers, or as a sauce for steak, chicken or fish. Although it rarely lasts long enough in my house to cover half of those uses!
Picking a few wild garlic leaves and making a pesto is a wonderful activity for children.
It teaches them about the value of food and where it comes from, how to respect the land, connect with their their senses and create a meal from farm (or hillside!) to plate.
I regularly see that even the pickiest of eaters will try something new at dinner if they’ve been involved in the preparation.
What is Wild Garlic?
Wild garlic is a native plant to Britain and grows in abundance in the UK. It thrives in generally shady and damp environments such as woodland and forests. This type of garlic has a lighter flavour to traditional bulb garlic but the health benefits are just as powerful.
Wild garlic harnesses the incredible, healing power of all plants in the Allium family, along with onion, chives, scallion, shallots and leeks. Wild garlic is used traditionally in Europe for its blood-purifying and detoxifying properties.
I like to make this pesto dairy-free using cashews, walnuts and nutritional yeast to create a cheese-like taste. Although pecorino cheese or parmesan works wonderfully as well.
I add one clove of bulb garlic as we’re a bit garlic-mad in our house. But feel free to omit that if you prefer.
Vegan Spinach & Wild Garlic Pesto
- 1 Immersion Blender
- 3 leaves wild garlic
- 1/4 cup basil leaves
- 1 /2 cup spinach
- 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- 1 tbsp cashews soaked for 30 minutes
- 1 tbsp walnuts
- 1 clove fresh garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Warm the olive oil on a low heat and lightly toast the garlic and pine nuts. DO NOT allow them to brown!
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and use a hand blender to combine. A normal blender can work here, but you may need to add more olive oil to the mix.
- Blend to your desired consistency, depending on whether you like your pesto chunky or completely smooth.
- Mix through pre-cooked pasta and serve.