A versatile recipe for green garlic pesto that comes straight from my spring garden. My green garlic pesto is made with radish greens and pepitas, and served alongside jammy steamed eggs and lemony sliced radishes.
As the pandemic began spreading here in the States, I planted rows of kale, turnip, radish, carrot, and collard seeds in my backyard garden. When the weather warmed, I added more kale and collards and lots of lettuce. Last year’s bronze fennel returned along with a handful of garlic stalks. Soon, I’ll plants cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, and okra. And when they’re ready, I’m planning to plant a dozen tomatoes right in the ground since my raised beds are now completely full.
Quite quickly, gardening has gone from a hobby to a meaningful source of sustenance. Of course there are many people in every community who rely on gardens, pandemic or no. But this growing season, many others will be taking their first steps into the magic of growing actual food from tiny seeds.
Victory Gardens Everywhere
In my community, folks are looking to expand the victory garden movement and find ways to share seedlings and soil, knowledge and equipment, so that those who experience food insecurity even in the best of times can access and grow nourishing fresh foods right now. In your community, look for community and school-based garden programs. There are lots of opportunities out there to increase your gardening knowledge while also doing good and bringing fresh food into under-resourced neighborhoods. Resources to check out include Slow Food USA, Edible Schoolyard, and the International Rescue Committee whose New Roots has refugee-centered community garden and CSA programs in communities throughout the US.
Green Garlic Pesto
This recipe for green garlic pesto comes right from my garden. It’s made from the whole stalk of young garlic picked before individual cloves or the garlic scapes have formed. You could also trim the garlic greens and leave the bulb in the ground to continue growing (I’ve seen both the garlic chive and full green garlic stalks for sale at farmer’s markets this time of year.) Green garlic is milder than scapes or cloves and has that lovely green-tasting punch that for me is the very epitome of spring eating. Green garlic pesto is also a great way to incorporate other types of garden greens – I used radish and turnip greens, but kale, collards, or basil would be delicious.
Alongside the pesto is a low-key spring feast. Cobbled together but special too. Grilled naan, sliced radishes tossed with lemon and sea salt, and jammy 7-minute spring eggs.
A final note: if you’re not steaming your eggs, you should be. This technique is simple and even farm fresh eggs are a cinch to peel.
- 2 - 4 stalks green garlic, roots trimmed, rough chopped (double if just use green garlic chives)
- 2 cups dark, leafy greens like radish or turnip greens, kale, or collards, chopped
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons raw, hulled pumpkin seeds, divided
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 eggs, steamed 7 minutes (recipe here)
- 4 naans, grilled or warmed
- 1 bunch radishes, halved or quartered
- 1/2 a lemon
- Sea salt
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse to break down the green garlic, greens, and 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds. With food processor running, drizzle in olive oil. Pulse to add Parmesan, sea salt, and pepper. Spoon into a serving bowl.
If desired, toast remaining 2 tablespoons in a small skillet for 2 minutes. Rough chop and toss with sea salt. Sprinkle on top of pesto and drizzle with olive oil.
To serve, halve eggs and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Tuck eggs and radishes around the pesto and serve warm naan triangle on the side.
Pesto will keep sealed in the fridge at least 3 days.