Wild Garlic (Bärlauch) Pesto

I love pesto. Traditionally, it is made with basil, but it can be tricky to grow basil at certain times of year, and it is expensive to buy in bulk. Luckily, pesto can be made with all sorts of greens (and other colours), such as kale, spinach, parsley and even coriander. When I have a jar of fresh pesto in the fridge, I use it on everything, from sandwiches to pasta to meat and fish.

Wild garlic is very popular in Switzerland at this time of year. You can easily forage for it in your local forests, but be careful to look out for the distinctive garlicky smell. There are reports of people who have mistaken other plants for it, and have not survived to tell the tale… You should also wash it well before using.

I bought my wild garlic and parmesan at the market in Wipkingen.

Since posting, my Mum has been in touch to say that it grows in wooded areas of deciduous forest. She even sent this photo from her walk this morning to prove it:)

meadow full of wild garlic

Wild Garlic Pesto

Makes 0.5l Jar

jar of wild garlic pesto


  • 120g wild garlic leaves, blanched
  • 1 clove garlic (optional. Check flavour of pesto before adding)
  • 20g pine nuts, toasted
  • 200ml mild olive oil
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 30g parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper


  1. Wash the wild garlic and blanch the leaves in a pan of boiling water for 30 seconds, before trasferring to a bowl of ice-cold water. Squeeze out the excess water and roughly chop
  2. Put the leaves, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon zest and parmesan in the food processor and blend
  3. Season with salt and pepper, check the flavour, and if necessary, add a clove of garlic and blitz again
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