spring garlic and dill pesto

dill pesto

There comes a time, in every pantry’s life, when you have to manage your resources. It’s almost shameful to be a cook and let your food spoil. KS, at heart, is a functional, practical, resource-allocating cook. I, on the other hand, have my head in the clouds, dreaming of dinners in the afternoon and compiling a mental check list of food stuffs to pick up en route home. It mostly works out well, as we balance each other out, me with my flights of fancy, and him with a practical approach to our crisper. The Swiss chard, among other vegetables thanks him for it.

But sometimes, I too exhibit practical, creative thoughts when it comes to resource management with our perishables. I look at our ingredients in need of attention et voilà, a dish is born. This time, I think I did quite well – not to pat myself on the back!

little bowties

From my farmers market trip on Saturday, our fridge still held among other things, half a bunch of dill, some green onions and the spring garlic that I simply cannot get enough of. The spring garlic came with long, exotic looking greens that looked beautiful enough to use as flowers in a large vase, if only I didn’t have plans for them of the kitchen variety. I stared at these ingredients long enough to realize I had half a cup of pine nuts sitting around. And suddenly it all came together – a dill pesto with green onions and spring garlic greens!


Growing up, I used to joke that if my mother could make cupcakes out of dill, she would. Of course, that which we mock when we’re young comes to afflict us when we grow up. Surely enough, I am as much of a dill fanatic, if not more so, than my mother, and I bet she’s having the last laugh now. The pesto, a summery twist on a classic, came out beautifully, with a delicate summer flavor and a pungent garlic bite that gave the perfect dressing for our bow-tie pasta, which, I am ashamed to admit; we bought, and did not make. And I am certain that as I ate my bow-ties by the spoonfuls, I heard the pasta machine whimper in the pantry.

Enough dill that when folder together fills up a two cup Pyrex
3-4 sprigs green onions
1 clove spring garlic
Greens from 2 heads of spring garlic
2/3 cup pine nuts
½ olive oil (more if your mixture is too dry)
Salt to taste (I like 1-2 tbsp, but I like my pesto on the salty side)
1 box of bow-tie pasta, or 1 lb of handmade pasta – this works best with shorter pasta dishes, or gnocchi.

Trim the garlic greens – cut off the hard, inedible part. Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until emulsified and creamy. Set aside.

Boil pasta according to cooking instructions, drain thoroughly.

Throw the pesto in making sure that the pesto thoroughly coats the pasta.


  • Lydia

    For some reason, I’ve never been successful at growing dill in my garden, but this year I have garlic scapes for the first time….so perhaps a bit of dill and green onions from tomorrow’s farmers’ market, and some pine nuts from my freezer, and I’ll come up with something close to this. Looks wonderful!

  • radish

    Funny, but the only herb my mother has succeeded in growing IS dill – it’s actually supposedly easy to grow, being that it’s a weed. But I don’t have space for it just yet, ironic, given my love for it. I think you should give this recipe a go – throw some other stuff in there – see what happens!

  • Bakerina

    Oh, this sounds magnificent. I am a mad fool for dill, but I keep using it in all the usual-suspect dishes: string bean pickles, cucumber salad, potato-dill bread. I would never have thought of making pesto with it, but I’m so glad that you did. (And incidentally, if you make that dill/cottage cheese [or ricotta] batter bread that shows up in a lot of cookbooks, and then bake it in cupcake tins, you *can* have dill cupcakes. ;)
    I am terribly delinquent in telling you this, but it was such a delight to meet you at Veselka when Shuna was in town. We’ll have to do it again sometime. I will not beg you to bring along vegetables from your garden, but I won’t exactly cry if you do. ;)

  • aileen

    I believe you have just rescued my summer pride! For the second straight Bush Alaskan summer in a row, I have failed to grow any of my all-winter-pined-for herbs except for dill and cilantro. I’d like to think that dill is genetically inclined for the growing conditions up here, and perhaps my love of irony is the best nurture for cilantro. But, yet again, no basil. No mint. No rosemary. No parsley. Admittedly, there is still time and the midnight sun is still strong. But even if these other herbs continue to flail – I – insert a gushing grin of appreciation – look forward to celebrating summer with a bonanza of dill pesto!

  • Jacquie

    Outstanding! I just found myself with a bunch of fresh dill and I was at a loss of what to do with it before it spoils (a crime!). Thank you!!!! Great blog! Found you from Accidental Hedonist.

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