Monday, April 29, 2013

Wild Leek and Carrot Greens Pesto

I am loving spring right now. I love how the earth is awakening from the winter and just bursting with green. Luckily, all that green is being used in my kitchen and I just couldn't be happier. And I got to try a new-to-me vegetable in this here pesto: the wild leek, also known as the mighty ramp! I have to admit, I'm a little late on the ramp bandwagon, so it seems. These little green onions are all over the food blogs I read and the Instagram pages I follow and they're popping up at farmers markets everywhere!  I guess they can be classified as one of those "fad foods", but hey, you know what? If they taste good, I don't care if they're "trending" or not. After all, they're only around for a few short weeks out of the year, so I'd better try them while I can! I've seen them roasted, grilled, sauteed, topped on pizza, tempura battered, and fried. And all of those ideas sound fantastic. But I decided to make a pesto with them because at the time, I figured it was one of the healthiest ways to use them.  And boy was it delicious.
Of course I couldn't stop at ramps alone when to came to this pesto. I wanted to put to use the carrot tops from my lovely baby spring carrots. Sure enough, they helped mellow out the sharp onion-y kick that this ramp pesto had in the most perfect way possible. I love that this pesto (and any other pesto for that matter) really lets the ingredients at hand shine. I mean, there's no hiding the flavor of the ramps or the carrot tops here. And I must mention how amazingly nutritious this pesto is. It's packed with chlorophyll, antioxidants, omega 3's from the walnuts, and cancer-fighting and cancer-preventing compounds that are present in the onion family. I served the pesto on top of some equally nutritious 100% whole grain Einkorn wheat pasta. The meal was a winner, for sure.

Wild Leek and Carrot Greens Pesto (makes about 1 1/2 cups of pesto)
2 small bunches wild leeks (ramps)
greens of 1 bunch of carrots
large bunch of basil, parsley, or any other herb
3/4 cup walnuts
juice of half a lemon, or more to taste
one clove garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
sea salt

1. Trim about an inch or so of the white parts of the ramps. Soak them in a large bowl of water to rid them of dirt. Rinse the carrot greens and herbs.

2. Put the ramps, carrot greens, herbs, walnuts, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor. Process until the greens have broken down, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the food processor is running. Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and pulse to combine. Serve the pesto over whole grain pasta or any other type of grain you'd like. You can even use it as a dip for veggies.

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