You got a bunch of wild garlic leaves and are looking for what to do with them? This is where this recipe jumps in: extremely aromatic, pungent Wild Garlic and Dill Pesto recipe! Made with walnuts and extra virgin olive oil, it’s the perfect way of enjoying the very first wild garlic leaves in early spring.
Serve it with pasta or gnocchi, in a focaccia sandwich, slathered on your favorite pizza, in a potato salad…the possibilities are endless!
I kinda can’t believe that I didn’t post this recipe on the blog earlier.
Namely, if I hadn’t accidentally stumbled on old photos of this pesto while I was going through some files on my laptop, it would probably have remained written down (and forgotten) only on my Instagram. And that would be a shame because this recipe is a real spring, umami treat for all of us, garlic lovers.
If you’re a real wild garlic fan and you’re always in search of how to use it in new recipes, I suggest you take a look at my YOUTUBE VIDEO in which I’m showing you 3 must-try wild garlic recipes:
Pesto, what is that?
And while today there are hundreds, if not thousands of different pesto recipes, basil pesto (pesto alla Genovese), which originated in Genoa in the Italian province of Liguria, is probably one of the most famous. This sauce combines some of the best ingredients that this region offers – basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, hard cheese, and sea salt.
But it’s currently March and a sufficient amount of fresh basil can only be found in the jars in the supermarket. That’s not what excites me right now. While a few of my bags of basil seeds are patiently waiting to be sowed (fingers crossed I manage to grow a lot of basil this year in the post) so that in a few months I can make a jar of real pesto Genovese, now I want to enjoy in all the spring flavors.
And that means making A LOT of recipes with wild garlic.
Wild garlic (ramson, bear’s garlic) is already growing in abundance in forest areas at this time of the year. Given its strong taste, I decided to pair it with fresh dill, which grows in my parent’s garden every year so we can enjoy it almost all year round.
WORD OF CAUTION: if it’s your first time foraging wild garlic, please be aware that this plant has its doppelgängers. Please read more about this topic in my previous post for Wild Garlic Irish Soda Bread.
As a person who truly enjoys food, this wild garlic and dill pesto recipe is always interesting to me because it has so many flavors at once; the saltiness of the cheese, the richness of walnuts and olive oil, and finally the fiery and somewhat pungent taste of wild garlic leaves.
Lemon juice and zest are definitely not on a traditional list of ingredients, but I like to add them to most of my pesto recipes because they always freshen things up. Italian nonnas, forgive me, but I just cannot resist the taste and smell of a good lemon!
True purists will make their pesto with mortar and pestle, as it’s traditionally prepared but I am aware that most of you who read my blog maybe don’t have these tools at home so I decided to show you how this recipe can very easily be made in the food processor.
How to Use Wild Garlic and Dill Pesto
The answer to this question is very simple: use it like any other pesto.
I like to use it:
- On my pizza
- In grilled cheese sandwich
- In some creamy or minestrone soup
- As a sauce for burgers made with brioche burger buns
- With gnocchi or pasta
- In a potato salad instead of the dressing
- As a dip or sauce for veggies
- In creamy mashed potatoes
Do you ever make pesto at home or do you prefer to buy it in the store? What flavors do you like to combine? I would love to hear from you here in the comments below this post or feel free to write me on my Instagram.
Enjoying video recipes? If you’re nodding your head and saying “hell yeah”, then don’t forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel!
Cook with love,
Wild Garlic and Dill Pesto Recipe
- 60 g walnuts (toasted)
- 60 g fresh wild garlic leaves
- 15 g fresh dill
- 2-4 tablespoon lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- grated zest of one lemon (organic)
- 120-140 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 40 g Pecorino Romano (or some other hard cheese of your choice)
- sea salt (to taste)
- ground black pepper (to taste)
- Toast the walnuts in the dry pan until they become fragrant. Add them to the food processor and pulse until crumbly.
- Then add coarsely chopped fresh dill and wild garlic leaves. Add freshly grated lemon zest, and lemon juice (start with 2 tbsp and later add more, if necessary), and start the food processor again.
- Slowly start adding the olive oil while the food processor is running until you get a smooth consistency.
- Pause, then add grated hard cheese, some freshly cracked black pepper, and salt to your taste. Process very briefly, until just combined.
- Your pesto is done! Transfer it to the clean glass jar, close it tightly with a lid, and store it in the fridge.