Ramp and Wild Greens Pesto

Capture the essence of spring with this punchy, pungent sauce chock-full of seasonal alliums and herbs.

  • Serves

    Makes about 1½ cups

  • Cook

    30 minutes


By Sandor Katz

Updated on May 1, 2024

Fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz makes this punchy pesto to capture the essence of spring. Chickweed, a spicy herb, is his green of choice to pair with ramps, to which he adds mild herbs and sunflower seeds, but you can replace chickweed with watercress, arugula, or any other peppery green. The same goes for the ramps—this pesto works just as well with spring onions or garlic. It will keep in the fridge for a few weeks, and Katz uses it throughout the day: on grits or eggs for breakfast, slathered on sandwiches for lunch, and tossed with potatoes or pasta for dinner.


  • 1 packed cup chickweed, watercress, or arugula leaves, coarsely chopped
  • ½ packed cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup olive oil, plus more for storing
  • ½ packed cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped ramps (or substitute 3 garlic cloves)
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds, soaked for 8–24 hours and drained
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Kosher salt


Step 1

In a food processor, pulse the chickweed, cilantro, oil, parsley, ramps, and sunflower seeds until finely chopped. Scrape the pesto into a jar, stir in the lemon juice and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and season to taste with salt. Store the pesto, covered with more oil, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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