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The Wildest Wild Leek Pesto – Recipe + Health Benefits

Posted by on May 16, 2013 in Recipes, Spring | 8 Comments

Wild Leek Pesto 3

Happy Thursday, beautiful people!

I’m excited to share with you a recipe for a delicious pesto.

While I try my best to give you helpful nutrition info with relevant, easy recipes, sometimes I want to share something a little more “out there” with you. And by “out there” I mean wild leeks. Their season is short, they’re not found at grocery stores, but they’re wild, extremely good for you, impressive at dinner parties and super delicious. If you’re interested in these things, keep reading.

Wild Leek Pesto 2

Spring and wild leeks

Spring, to me, is always made more real by the introduction of wild leeks (also known as ramps).  Wild leeks are often the first greens to push up through the forest floor each spring.

I was in NYC this past weekend, and was happy to see wild leek madness as they were being sold at nearly every stand at the Union Square farmers’ market. And again at Eataly, where they were the seasonal topping on delicious looking crostini. Then again yesterday at the just-back-in-action farmers’ market in my fav Toronto park, Trinity Bellwoods. Ah, spring!

Young and wild and free

Before I tell you how wild leeks taste, I want to talk to you about their wildness. I had a herbal medicine teacher who is also a vegetable farmer. While she sells most of her produce at small farmers’ markets, you know what she and her family eat? The “weeds”, because they grow in their natural habitat. Think about that for a second.

This is one of the reasons why we’re seeing more and more foraged food at restaurants; some of my very favourite restaurants (Ursa, Keriwa Café) have their own foragers that bring wild bounty by the basket each week.

*Note: foraging is serious business, and is best left to the pros. For the rest of us, farmers’ markets will provide us with lots of wild (and safe to eat) foods.

Health benefits and wild taste

So what do wild leeks taste like? Basically like a cross between leeks and garlic. They’re pungent suckers. But that pungency is so, so good for us.

Wild leeks are members of the garlic (allium) family, and contain many of the same health benefits, namely their sulfur content and unique phytonutrients that can help us detoxify, protect our hearts and ward off colds and flus.

Where to find them

If you want to try this pesto, get out there to the farmers’ market toute suite! Wild leeks have an incredibly short season and they’re only available at farmers’ markets (because they are protected in Ontario, and can’t be harvested on a large scale).

Wild Leek Pesto 1

The Wildest Wild Leek Pesto

  1. ½ lb wild leeks (around 16)
  2. ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 cup walnuts
  4. 1 lemon, zested; ½ lemon, juiced
  5. 1 tsp Celtic sea salt
  1. Remove the roots from the wild leeks and submerge in a large bowl of water. Repeat with clean water until the leeks look clean.
  2. Chop the leeks into 1” strips.
  3. Add to a food processor, fitted with an ‘S’ blade (or blender) with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse until everything looks pesto-ish.
  1. healthydelicious.ca
Healthy Delicious Toronto Nutrition http://healthydelicious.ca/v2/

How to serve this delicious pesto

Tip: grate a little more lemon zest overtop for additional serving style

  • On pasta! I love this one
  • As a dip with veggies or crackers
  • A sandwich spread
  • A sauce for chicken, fish or beef
  • With eggs

Wishing you many delicious experiments with wild leeks. xo Andrea


  1. Lazy Suzan
    May 16, 2013

    My nearest and dearest friend dislikes classic basil pesto – I’m going to have to give this one a shot and see if I can win her over on pesto! :)

    • Healthy Delicious
      May 16, 2013

      Yes! With the lemon zest it’s super fresh – let me know how it goes:)

  2. martha
    May 16, 2013

    They’re also available at Cote de Boeuf on Ossington right now! I bought some on Sunday.

  3. Herman
    May 22, 2013

    First off I want to say superb blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
    I’ve had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Many thanks!

    • Healthy Delicious
      May 23, 2013

      Hi Herman, thanks for stopping by! I find that my mind is never “clear” – I’ll get an idea for a blog post and then will need to keep it in the back of my head while I do something else (like going for a walk). Hope this helps:)

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