Green Spring Pesto

March is the season of bright green things - salad greens, green garlic and arugula. Green garlic is garlic harvested before the bulb matures and is a real spring treat. It's garlic-y but doesn't have the bite of mature garlic. Arugula or rocket is a leafy plant, sometimes a little spicy, that is often added to salad mixes.


  • A big bunch of arugula (maybe 2 packed cups)
  • One stem of green garlic (see below for how to clean green garlic)
  • A generous squeeze of lemon juice (two lemon slices squeezed)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Chop green garlic into large pieces, put arugula, garlic, big squeeze of lemon juice and salt in blender of food processor. Cover with oil. Blend. Add more oil if needed. Stores in the refrigerator for about a week. Add to pasta or use as a toast or sandwich spread. Yum!

For a richer pesto, add toasted pecans, almonds or walnuts when blending. 

How to clean green garlic (or leeks)

Like an onion, leeks and garlic grow in layers. In the garden, dirt gets into the layers between the leaves. To clean and use green garlic (or leeks):

  • Cut off the root end just above the roots. 
  • Cut off the green leaves where the green meets the white. (Try finely chopping the green garlic leaves and adding them to scrambled eggs, tomato sauce or crock pot stew.)
  • Slice the garlic stalk lengthwise like in the picture. (Slicing lengthwise lets you easily wash any dirt out of the layers.)
  • Roughly chop slices for blending in pesto or chop them finely to add to other dishes when you want a garlic flavor.
Caylor RolingComment