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Spud Sunday: On The Wild Side

Sometimes, I wish Mother Nature would do labels.

A little sign, saying “makes great pesto” and pointing towards that untended clump of leaves at the bottom of the garden would have been really helpful. Instead, for years, I had supposed that this plant’s only part of edible interest was the flowers. Oops.

Thanks to a little research, I now know better.

Allium Triquetrum

Wild garlic - not just about the flowers, you know

The narrow leaves of the plant in question – Allium triquetrum, one of a number of plants referred to as wild garlic – do indeed make the most fabulous pesto. More than that, it is a pesto that is made for use with potatoes. I would quite happily eat gobs of this with roast spuds, oven baked chips or fried potato cakes, mix it with mashed potato, stir it through a plate of gnocchi, swirl it into a bowl of potato soup, dollop it onto a baked spud, or serve alongside some steamed new potatoes.

Potato Seedlings

Hello, my young spuds

And new potatoes is what I hope to have, oh, sometime next month, if my bagged up potato seedlings continue to make steady progress. I just hope I have some wild garlic left by then – I’d love for them to meet.

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Wild Garlic Pesto (for spuds and other things)

Wild Garlic Pesto

I made this pesto with narrow-leafed wild garlic or Allium triquetrum (also known as three cornered leek or three cornered garlic). You can, however, also use the wider leaves of that other wild garlic found here, Allium ursinum (also known as ramsons) or in North America, try Allium tricoccum (aka ramps).

Personally, I don’t care for pesto that’s too oily, so I’ve only added a small amount here, though you can add more if that’s to your taste. Like any pesto, this is best freshly made, though you can keep it in the fridge covered with a film of olive oil or freeze the freshly made pesto in small containers. If you do want to freeze the pesto, I see that Darina Allen, in Forgotten Skills of Cooking, suggests that it is best to freeze it minus the parmesan, which can be added later, when the pesto has been defrosted.

You’ll need:
  • 40g pine nuts
  • 75g wild garlic leaves
  • 3-4 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g parmesan, finely grated
  • salt to taste
You’ll also need:
  • A food processor or mortar and pestle.
The Steps:
  • Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are browned but not burned, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Using a food processor, blend together the pine nuts, wild garlic leaves and olive oil. If you don’t have a food processor, chop the pine nuts and garlic leaves first, then mash together using a mortar and pestle.
  • Stir in the grated parmesan. Taste for salt and add some if it needs it (which it may not, depending on the saltiness of the cheese).
  • Enjoy with any number of potato dishes or, yes, even with pasta.
The Variations:
  • You can bump up the garlic flavour by adding a clove of garlic to the blend or make any number of other pesto sauces by using different greens. Basil leaves are, of course, the classic, but rocket also makes for an excellent pesto.
The Results:
  • Around 200g of pesto, of which I will easily eat half in a single sitting.


  1. The Cooking Ninja

    U are at least more knowledgeable than moi. I have never heard of wild garlic until I read this article of yours. ;) Your wild garlic pesto sounds yummy.

  2. Chef E

    Could you be ready for us around 7 PM our time? I am hungry now, but even more so later, since it will take a while for us to paddle over…

  3. OysterCulture

    Yum – wild garlic pesto – I love pesto, too but agree that too oily is a turn off. Its just so versatile – goes great with about anything. I can only imagine how extra tasty it is fresh from the garden. To your list of spud related options how about a substitute as a dip for home made French fries?

  4. Daily Spud

    Cooking Ninja: I’m learning all the time! If you ever come across wild garlic, do give it a try – the pesto is very tasty indeed.

    Chef E: ready and waitin’ :D

    OysterCulture: Fresh from the garden it just bursts with flavour! And as a dip for home made french fries? Perfect :)

  5. sippitysup

    I would love for them to meet too, as long as I was the chaperon! GREG

  6. jenn

    Fantastic. I’d love to try me some wild garlic!! I think pesto this would will be on the menu.

  7. 5 Star Foodie

    A wild garlic pesto sounds terrific with so many different things!

  8. The Diva on a Diet

    You are onto something with the idea for Mother Nature to do those little signs … brilliant! She should take you up on it, posthaste.

    I must say, the wild garlic pesto looks and sounds quite brilliant too. The color is gorgeous and I’ll bet the flavor is to die for. Yum!

  9. Tangled Noodle

    Wishing I’d seen this before I used up all my Allium tricoccum (sounds so much more impressive than ramps). This pesto will be at the top of the list next spring!

    I’ve been struggling with my ‘ramps’ post and was afraid that I missed the window for it to be interesting, given that the season has pretty much passed. But it seems as if ramps, ramsons and wild garlic can still be found somewhere in the world, so why not? Here’s to pungent wild alliums! 8-)

  10. Jenni

    Garlicky pesto? Yes, please. I say make some and freeze it to use when your spuds are ready–you don’t want to miss this opportunity.

  11. suzanna

    Where did you get hold of wild garlic? Any suggestion where I can find it around Co. Laois? I know that it grows in Phoenix Park… But it seems odd to go foraging to the city while I live in the country ;-)

  12. Sophie

    I so love all sorts of pesto’s!!! This one looks so vibrant green…super tasty!!

    Thanks again for another lovely recipe of yours truly,…!!!!

    Many greets from rainy Brussels!

  13. Daily Spud

    sippitysup: you’d make an excellent chaperon where these pair are concerned, Greg, I know you would!

    jenn: if you ever get a chance to sample wild garlic, it’s well worth it

    5 Star Foodie: absolutely, I can think of so many things that it would be good with (and not just potatoes :) )

    Diva: You’d think Mama Nature would get with the signage program :D The pesto, meanwhile, is excellent (though, frankly, anything oniony and or garlicky is likely to get my vote!)

    Tangled Noodle: pungent wild alliums rock!

    Jenni: you are a genius, ma’am – that is of course exactly what I should do

    suzanna: I know that we got some from friends who lived down around Ballycotton in Co. Cork (I’ve a feeling it may be fairly commonly found down around there) – other than that, I don’t have a list of likely spots (though my sister came across some on the hill of Howth the other day – not exactly near Laois, I know!)

    Sophie: Greetings! Pesto is just such a great invention, isn’t it? :)

  14. Carli

    I’m all new to this foraging lark but have been doing a lot of research and thought I’d mention this, I read wild garlic (ramsons) often are found near bluebells, but you must be cautious as bluebells are apparently poisonous! (I’m not suggesting anyone could confuse the two, but if this is true, I think it refers to if you are digging them up and using the bulbs). Correct me if I’m wrong!

  15. Daily Spud

    Hi Carli and thanks so much for taking the time to comment. There is no harm at all in sounding a note of caution when it comes to foraging – far from it – you really do need to know what you are looking for and how to identify it.

    Now, wild garlic and bluebells may certainly be found in the same shady places and I gather that bluebells are indeed poisonous, so if you were to go digging bulbs up, you would need to be extremely careful and be absolutely sure that the bulb that you think is wild garlic is one that is attached to leaves that are identifiably garlic leaves. And of course it goes without saying that if you are in any doubt, steer well clear!

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