Wild Garlic and Hazelnut Pesto

Wild garlic pesto dish


Hello Dear Reader,

The good people at Maille recently invited me to enter their bloggers challenge, the “Maille Culinary Challenge”.
I have long been a fan of Maille wholegrain mustard but didn’t really know anything about the company or what other products they make.

Maille wholegrain mustard
photo sourced from Maille.co.uk

It turns out that La Maison Maille (to give them their full title) has been around since 1747!
Antoine-Claude Maille was a master vinegar maker. He opened his first boutique in Paris, supplying a rich range of aromatic mustards, and quickly became official supplier to the court of Louis XV. Further success followed and La Maison Maille became official supplier to other royal courts throughout Europe. I had no idea!

Moutarde de Maille
photo sourced from Maille.co.uk

Maille invited me to choose two products to cook with and I was wowed by their beautiful range. In addition to their wonderful wholegrain mustard, which I know so well, they produce many other types of mustard and also vinegars, oils, dressings, sauces, pickles, kitchen accessories and tableware. Again, I had no idea!

So, what to choose? My first choice was easy!
I adore hazelnuts and as soon as I saw Maille’s hazelnut oil, I knew I had to try it! This was especially true when I checked the list of ingredients! What’s in there? Hazelnut oil!
Yep – that’s it – no additives, no colourings, no flavourings, nadda – just plain and perfect hazelnut oil. It is described as sweet, delicate and aromatic; on the nose, as a ramble between fields and forest; on the palate as having sweet notes of hazelnut. As soon as it arrived I tried it with a little plain bread and I concur wholeheartedly with that description!

Maille hazelnut oil
Photo sourced from maille.co.uk

What to make with my hazelnut oil? I had all sorts of classic combinations running through my head but I wanted to do something a little different. Maille’s own description of the scent of the oil being evocative of a ramble between fields and forest sent my mind soaring outdoors to nature’s bounty.

You may remember I recently went on a foraging workshop. I couldn’t take home any foraged foods that day, as I was about to go away for a week but thinking back to the punchy taste of wild garlic, I thought it would be a lovely contrast to sweet mellow hazelnut oil. So, last weekend, Mr Vohn & I went on our own little foraging trip in some local woods and brought back handfuls of wild garlic, complete with their newly formed flower buds.

Here’s a little ancient proverb we found on a signpost along the way…

Eat leeks in lide (March)
and ransoms in May
And all the year after
physicians may play!

Sounds good to me! So here is the healthy & delicious recipe I came up with.

Wild Garlic and Hazelnut Pesto – recipe
– 100g wild garlic leaves (you can forage these yourself, or buy from your local farmer’s market)
– 1 tsp vinegar
– 50g hazelnuts
– 50 ml Maille hazelnut oil
– 150ml Rapeseed oil (or other good quality oil made locally to you)
– 1 tsp lemon juice
– 50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
– 1 tsp freshly group black pepper
– a little sea salt

1) Start by cleaning your wild garlic. Sort through it and discard leaves of any other plants which may have snuck in there when foraging your garlic. You can also include the garlic buds, although I separated mine out & used them in a pasta recipe (see further below).

Wild garlic leaves

Wash the leaves in water with the vinegar added, to remove any contaminants. I find it easiest to do this in the kitchen sink!

Wash wild garlic

Shake off any excess water, place in a colander and leave to drain.

Drain wild garlic

2) Roughly chop your hazelnuts


Chopped hazelnuts

3) Place hazelnuts, hazelnut oil and a handful of wild garlic in a food processor. Blend to a purée & then add more wild garlic and blend again. Once you have added all the wild garlic, add the rapeseed oil & blend again.
You can do this in a pestle and mortar if you don’t have a food processor – it just takes a while longer!

Wild garlic in processor

Blended wild garlic

4) Place the purée into a bowl and stir in the lemon juice, parmesan cheese and black pepper. Taste & add salt if you wish.

Wild garlic pesto

5) Use immediately, or spoon into a dish and cover with a thin layer of oil.  It can keep in the fridge for a few days like this.

Wild garlic pesto dish

If you have too much to use within a few days, then it freezes well. You can do this in ice cube trays.

Wild garlic in icecube tray

Once frozen, remove your “pesto cubes” from the tray and put them in a bag/box in the freezer. One to two cubes is enough for a serving.

Wild garlic pesto cubes

You can use your wild garlic and hazelnut pesto in any dish you would usually use pesto in. As a little bonus recipe, here’s what I used my first batch for…

Pasta with wild garlic and hazelnut pesto, topped with crispy wild garlic buds  – recipe
Serves one
– handful of wild garlic buds
– 100g pasta of your choice
– 2 tsp Maille hazelnut oil
– 2 tbsp wild garlic and hazelnut pesto
– Freshly ground black pepper
– 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated

1) Wash your wild garlic buds (as before with plenty of water and a little vinegar). Drain thoroughly and leave to dry on clean kitchen towel/paper.

Wild garic buds

2) Cook pasta to al-dente and drain in a colander.

3) Heat 2 teaspoons Maille hazelnut oil over a medium-high heat in a frying pan.  The smell of this oil heating up is absolutely amazing!
Add the garlic buds and fry for about one minute until lightly charred and crispy.

Fried wild garlic buds

Drain on clean kitchen towel/paper.

Drain wild garlic buds

4) Add the pesto to the pan and fry for a minute.

Fry wild garlic pesto

5) Rinse the pasta in the colander with hot water, then add to the pan & toss thoroughly to coat in pesto.

Cooked pasta

Toss pasta in wild garlic pesto

6) Transfer to a serving bowl…

Plate pasta with wild garlic pesto

…and top with freshly ground black pepper, a sprinkling of parmesan and the charred wild garlic buds

Pasta with wild garlic pesto



Legalese: Maille sent me two complimentary products to use to enter their Culinary Challenge. 


P.S. If you like hazelnuts as much as me, here are some more of my hazelnut recipes for you to enjoy…

Hazelnut milk
Homemade Hazelnut Milk
Cream of butternut squash and hazelnut soup
Cream of butternut squash and hazelnut soup
Sugar-free Granola
Sugar-free Granola
beetroot and bramble tartlets
Beetroot and bramble tartlets
Choco-nana-hazelnut smoothie
Choco-nana-hazelnut smoothie


P.P.S. I am entering my Wild Garlic and Hazelnut Pesto into a few blogger challengers…

Cooking With Herbs challenge run by Karen over at Lavender and Lovage

Cooking with herbs

Pasta Please run by Jac at Tinned Tomatoes and guest-hosted this month by Pierre & Nazima of Franglais Kitchen, whose theme is pasta sauces.

pasta please

Four Seasons Food challenge, which is co-hosted by Anneli at Delicieux and Louisa at Eat Your Veg.  This month’s theme is Celebrating Spring.


Cheese Please challenge run by Fromage Homage, as this month’s theme is Cheeseonal and Seasonal!

Cheese Please logo

Simple and In Season challenge run by Ren at Ren Behan.

Simple and In Season




  1. Anita ingham says:

    I have sooooo much wild garlic in my garden and wood at the moment that I would love to give some away. I will however make the pesto, butter , soup and pasta as I do every year but would love to be able to preserve in jars as opposed to freezing..can this be done?

    • Ooh – lucky you Anita! I have to go hunt in the wild for my garlic! Yes, you absolutely can preserve it! Simply sterilise your jars the same way you would if making jam. Then fill with hot pesto and cover the top of the pesto in a layer of oil. This should keep well for a good few months. If you want to keep them longer, then you could seal them properly by using the water bath or pressure canning methods.

  2. Ah Vohn this looks superb. I cooked with wild garlic for the first time this year and made a similar pesto with walnuts ourselves!

    • Thanks Nazima. Welcome to wild garlic – now you’ve started you won’t be able to miss out on it each Spring! 🙂

  3. I often use hazelnuts in my pesto, they somehow give so much more nutty flavour to the mix. But I’ve never heard of hazelnut oil, love all Maille products so shall have to look out for some. I still find it hard to top a simple pesto pasta dinner like this. Gorgeous. Thanks so much for linking up to May’s Four Seasons Food event.

    • Thanks Lou! I haven’t seen Maille’s hazelnut oil in the shops – you may need to get it on their online store, or their own boutique if you are ever in London or Paris. It’s well worth the trip! 😉

  4. I love the beautiful green color of this pesto. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for garlic leaves.

    • Thanks Debi – it is certainly vibrant! Our wild garlic is almost finished here – this week will probably be my last chance until next Spring! 🙂

  5. This looks amazing – so green! Wild garlic is so good, I’d love to try it in a pesto but it’s all finished down here for the year. Thanks for sharing this with Cheese, Please! this month.

    • Thank you – yes I was amazed myself by just how green it stayed – Spring in a jar! We still have some wild garlic here & I am hoping to get out this week to get some to make another batch of this yummy pesto.

    • Thanks so much Sarah. I must make some more as my freezer batch is almost finished!

    • Thanks Sandra. That is a fab idea to have it on shrimp. I’m thinking barbecued shrimp would go brilliantly with the wild garlic tang. 😀

  6. I love pesto and this looks bright and sounds so flavorful! Love it mixed with the pasta.

    • Thanks Shelby. I was amazed myself at just how green it was. Spring in a jar! 🙂

    • Thank you Jemma. I was really pleased by how vibrant it ended up looking! 🙂

  7. I need to try this, I love pesto! Great recipe and ideas!

    • Go for it Erika. Thanks for your lovely comment! 🙂

  8. This looks so versatile and delicious Vohn! And I was cooking with hazelnuts today too! Great minds think alike even when on opposite sides of the world 😀

    • Thanks so much Lorraine! I’ve been going through a bit of a hazelnut obsession recently & more hazelnut recipes coming soon! 🙂

    • Oooh – thanks Kate! I am eating it with almost everything!

  9. I should really try some of these!
    They’ll go great with my healthy eating!!

    • Go for it Stephanie! Wild garlic is super-healthy & good for you. 🙂

  10. wow that pesto looks amazingl bright and soo fresh will have to try that x

    • Thanks so much Lisa. I hope you enjoy! x

    • Thanks – I love how intensely green it is! x

  11. I love Wild Garlic, and imagine with that Hazlenut Oil it’ll be heavenly! Must track some down! Thanks!

    • Thanks Mrs! I have another recipe using Maille hazelnut oil coming soon! x

  12. That pesto with the pasta looks mouth-wateringly delicious. I just may have to try it. Thanks for sharing Vohn.

    Fiona @ http://www.dollydowsie.com

    • Thanks Fiona! I’ve also had the pesto on baked potato and even on an omelette! Loving it! 🙂

  13. What a fabulous recipe! It looks delicious, I will have to give it a try

    • Thanks Tracy. I thought my frozen pesto cubes would last for ages but I’ve been having them almost every day – so tasty! x

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