With a rich, garlicky flavor and thick, spreadable texture, this Wild Ramp and Swiss Chard Pesto is a great springtime addition to all your favorite foods.
What are Wild Ramps?
If you’ve never had ramps before, they look a bit like a scallion, but with a pinkish stalk, and leafier top. The flavor of them is a bit of a garlic-onion combo, leaning heavier on garlic. They grow in the Eastern US and Canada, with their harvest season occurring in the spring.
I had never had wild ramps before I moved to Wisconsin 6 years ago. To be honest, I don’t think I had ever even heard of them. They just don’t grow where I lived before. So when I started getting ramps with my CSA every spring, I had to figure out what to do with this unfamiliar ingredient.
I tried a few different dishes that used ramps: I put them in frittatas, on pizza, and simply grilled, as a side dish. They were all fine, but when I got around to making Wild Ramp and Swiss Chard Pesto, I pretty much stopped experimenting with other ramp recipes. I have made 3 batches of it so far this year!
You can use this pesto as you would use any other. With pasta is certainly a good choice, but I also like it as a vegetable dip, spread on crackers, or as a sandwich spread. But I’ve most often been eating it spread on crusty toast with a fried egg on top. There are days in the past week that I’ve eaten it for 2 meals a day!
Wild Ramp and Swiss Chard Pesto
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 4 ounces Swiss chard, washed
- 2 ounces wild ramps, cleaned, root ends trimmed
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Toast walnuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat until they are lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from heat and cool.
- Coarsely chop the Swiss chard leaves and stems and the ramps. Add them both to the bowl of a food processor with the walnuts, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Process until everything is finely chopped, about 10-15 seconds. Slowly stream in the olive oil until the mixture forms a thick paste, using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Serve with pasta, as a sandwich spread, as a raw vegetable dip, or in any other way you think might be delicious. One of my favorite ways to eat it is spread on crusty toast with a fried egg on top. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze.
Wild Ramp and Swiss Chard Pesto Nutrition Notes:
Most of the calories in this pesto come from heart healthy fats from the walnuts and olive oil, but some are saturated fats from the Parmesan. I don’t recommend altering this recipe as it may negatively affect the flavor.