Vegan wild garlic pesto pasta

Vegan wild garlic pesto pasta

vegan wild garlic pesto pasta

While things are upside down right now, I am trying to look for a silver lining in this unprecedented situation. One upside is that the sun has been shining beautifully here this week and while this may be a trivial point for a lot of you, sunshine is never to be taken for granted in the UK, no matter what time of the year. So I am grateful for the weather as it has made the whole idea of confinement way less miserable.

Our cat, Tina, is thrilled about this new phenomenon of both us being at home all day and our willingness to sit outside with her whenever we take a food or coffee break, which is often – let’s face it not having that much on isn’t great for your waistline… Tina’s visible contentment and her cat antics have definitely helped us keep our spirits up.

Being able to go for a walk or run is another highlight of our days. We are lucky to be living near a big park and so I went there yesterday to get my blood flowing and boost my mood. It was gorgeous out, quite a few people enjoyed the same freedom but everybody was courteous and sticking to the rule of not crowding anyone else. As it’s wild garlic (ramsons) season, I combined my walk with a spot of foraging. I found a secluded patch and collected enough to make a jar of pesto, which I tend to put on nearly everything.

If you are lucky enough to have this nature’s gift on your doorstep, be sure you know what the leaves look like before you pick anything, as an inexperienced person could potentially confuse it with another plant, lily of the valley, which is unfortunately poisonous. Also please be sure to forage responsibly by leaving the bulb (root of the plant) in the ground and only just snipping the leaf off and by not over-harvesting in one spot so that the area looks bare.

Wild garlic leaves are really aromatic and they make a lovely, garlicky pesto when blended with roasted nuts (or seeds) and a generous amount of oil. I added capers and nutritional yeast to mine for an extra flavour punch, purely because I had these things in my cupboard. If you do not, please do not worry – salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice will do a great job too.

Now, if your local stores are out of pasta, don’t despair, this pesto is also delicious on some new potatoes, boiled or roasted or even stirred through beans. It is super versatile and keeps for a long time provided it is stored in the fridge and covered with a layer of olive oil, which prevents the mould from setting in. Hope you’ll enjoy and please obey the social distancing rules at all times – that’s the only hope we have of kicking this horrible virus to the curb at some point.

vegan wild garlic pesto ingredients

vegan wild garlic pesto making

vegan wild garlic pesto jar

vegan wild garlic pesto pasta close up

vegan wild garlic pesto plate

makes
3
PREP
20 min
COOKING
15 min
makes
3
PREPARATION
20 min
COOKING
15 min
INGREDIENTS
PESTO (makes enough for 500 g / 17.5 oz pasta)

  • 100 g / 3.5 oz wild garlic leaves (or spinach, kale leaves + 2 garlic cloves)
  • 70 g / ½ cup almonds (or walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 unwaxed lemon*, zest and juice
  • 4 tbsp / ¼ cup drained capers or green pitted olives (optional)
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • approx. 120 ml / ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

REMAINING INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large courgette
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 200 g / 7 oz pasta (GF if necessary) or boiled potatoes
  • mild chilli flakes (optional), I like to use Korean chilli flakes
METHOD
  1. Wash wild garlic leaves really well and blot them with a kitchen towel or simply leave to air-dry.
  2. Dry-roast your almonds (or any other nuts or seeds). You can either do it on a hot, dry pan making sure you shake it regularly so that they do not burn. They are done when lightly charred in places and fragrant. Alternatively, you can roast them in a 180° C / 355° F oven but be aware that this works better for larger quantities or else they burn rather quickly. I tend to roast 2 cups of nuts at a time for about 10-12 minutes. Allow them to cool down completely before blending in the pesto.
  3. Grind almonds first, then add all the remaining ingredients apart from olive oil and salt and blitz well. I used 4 tbsp / ¼ cup of lemon juice in my pesto, as I like things to be lemony, so you may want to adjust the amount to your taste. Once everything is minced well, start trickling in olive oil while the motor is going. Taste and add salt to taste – if using capers, you will only need a touch, otherwise more like 1 tsp.
  4. Slice your courgette really thinly using the lowest setting on a mandolin.
  5. Heat up 2 tsp olive oil on a large steel frying pan and add courgette slices. Saute lightly, stirring frequently until no longer raw and browned in places.
  6. Cook pasta al dente, reserving a little of the pasta cooking water just before draining.
  7. Coat the drained pasta in a few tablespoons of pesto, adding a little pasta cooking water to loosen things up a touch. Divide between two plates, top with courgette slices and toasted (and chopped if large) nuts / seeds and chilli flakes if you like.
  8. Transfer the remainder of your pesto to a clean jar and top with an extra tablespoon of olive oil to prevent mould from setting in. Store in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

NOTES
*If using zest, make sure you scrub your lemon really clean, then place it in a coffee cup and pour boiling water over it. Leave it immersed for a few seconds to sterilise it – this is especially important right now.

This recipe is based on my earlier wild garlic pesto recipe.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
479
24%
sugars
5 g
6%
fats
17 g
24%
saturates
2 g
10%
proteins
15 g
31%
carbs
60 g
23%
*per serving
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5.0
5 reviews, 7 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Anna:
So delicious!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Anna! I'm delighted to hear that! x Ania
I made this tonight substituting in your original wild garlic pesto because my son arrived home yesterday with a bag full of leaves and I didn't have any capers. Such a simple sounding dish but packed full of flavour, quick and easy to make and voted delicious by said son who is not a willing plant-based person. Will definitely be making this again very soon. Thanks, Ania, for a great recipe!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Jo, I'm delighted to hear that it went down so well with you and your son! x Ania
Andy:
Another lovely recipe :-) I added some spinach at the end to mine, which worked nicely. I do hope you're feeling better Ania.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Andy! I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed it! I'm okay, not great but getting there - I hope! Thank you for asking. Stay well! x Ania
ordu gezilecek yerler:
Great tips! Will definitely some of these for our home. Enjoy reading your posts!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks :)
Priti:
I really love your recipes - we have loads of wild garlic near where I live and I’ve hardly used it before so it’s nice to see a recipe using it. I’m also very grateful for the glorious sunshine we’re having at the moment Life is beautiful despite what’s going on around the world.
    Ania
    Ania:
    I am so glad to hear that, Priti! I hope you will enjoy foraging for it, cooking with it and eating it too! I plan to do a few more recipes with it (I do have a recipe for quiche tarts and potato salad for it from last year if you are interested). Yes, the sunshine has been so welcome. When I sit outside with my cat I almost forget about this dire situation we are in right now...Hope you'll manage to keep well in this craziness! x Ania
plazi:
Cześć Ania,
what do you think, if one wants to make a batch which could make pasta happy longer than 2-3 weeks, what ingredient could be an option to keep it longer fresh and alive?
Or is that far beyond the science of preserving? ;)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Cześć :)
    Are talking about preserving pesto for longer than 2-3 weeks? or cooked pasta? I am not sure. If pesto, simply freeze it - you can put it into ice cube tray and freeze in small portions. If you mean pasta, I guess you could freeze it too but I don't imagine that would taste very nice...Good luck! Ania
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