What are ramps? You may have seen ramps at a few stands at your local farmers market and thought to yourself, “Why are these onions so crazy-expensive?” Here’s why: ramps are a seasonal delicacy, a wild-foraged allium that only grow for a few weeks out of the year from late April to early June. On top of that, they can take up to seven years to reach maturity. Because of these limiting factors (and unless you’re foraging for your own), these tuberous vegetables can seem a bit pricey – but they’re totally worth the extra money.
Ramps are one of the first vegetables to poke their leaves out of the dirt as it begins to thaw. They herald the coming growing season, so using ramps in your cooking is the perfect way to kick off the return of fresh, local vegetables. Plus, ramps give any dish a unique flavor. They are similar to a green onion but with a more robust flavor as well as a hint of garlicky-ness that makes them an incredibly interesting ingredient.
Ramps will soon disappear until next spring, but there’s still time to hit up your local farmers market this weekend and pick up some of the seasonal delicacies. And after you do, we’ve got five succulent ways you can us them!
This creamy Poppy Seed Ramp Dressing can do it all. All you need is ramps and flax seed oil, a few cashews for a creamy consistency, some radishes for some crunch, white balsamic for that extra punch of flavor, a touch of nutritional yeast, followed by a pinch of sea salt and pepper to top it all off. Now go ahead, dip those little fruits and vegetables into this fabulous dressing. You name it, you can pair it with this recipe. Everything from baked tofu to stir-fries and oats to roasted fruits and vegetables! Is your mouth watering yet?
This Quinoa Pilaf With Ramps, Artichokes, and Peas makes a great side dish for eight or it can double as a main dish for six. For a delicious variation on this recipe, try using asparagus instead of artichokes (but steam it separately and add it to the quinoa just before serving). You can also use more ramps than called for in this recipe, it depends on how much of a fan you are of each ingredient.
Ramps are one of the “it” ingredients right now, with guest spots at the hottest restaurants. This Ramp and Spinach Pesto is the perfect way to use ramp’s bold, unique flavor, and seamlessly blend it with some more traditional pesto ingredients. The addition of some spinach helps to temper the bold flavors of the ramps, onion, and garlic. The result tasted very ‘green’ but in the best way possible.
Crisp pea shoots, nutty sunflower shoots, fresh French breakfast radishes, and ramps — the spring produce that eludes many of us. This Fried Ramps With French Breakfast Radishes and Spring Shoot Salad is a fun way to show off your farmer’s market (or foraging) haul. The ramps are fried in coconut butter to make them crisp around the edges, then tossed with the other greens and veggies with crunchy tortilla strips. A spicy, creamy, and sweet dressing made from almond butter, lemon juice, jalapeño pairs perfectly with all the fresh spring flavors at play.
Baked Russet potatoes may not be all that exciting on their own, but Russet Potatoes With Creamy Spinach and Ramp Sauce? Amazing. This beautifully presented entrée is composed of soft, tender potatoes accompanied by a garlicky spinach and ramp sauce that’s given a creamy touch with vegan sour cream.
Now quickly – to the market! These delicious dishes just won’t be the same without their super secret ingredient and ramps will be gone before you can blink.
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Feature image: Fried Ramps With French Breakfast Radishes and Spring Shoots