Broad beans and wild garlic pesto on toast

Broad beans and wild garlic pesto on toast

When I lived on the south coast near Brighton, I had a little patch of earth a couple of metres wide and about a metre deep. It’s surprising how much you can grow in a small space. I watched the brown patch of earth disappear as rainbow chard, peas, calendula and an array of herbs from Vietnamese coriander to mint to sage took up space and changed the brown to green and the colours of the rainbow.

Broad beans created the most excitement. They are the sign that summer is on its way. There is warmth in the sun and holidays and picnics aren’t abstract thoughts, but real things to look forward to. This is one of my favourite ways to eat them. Simply boiled for a couple of minutes, their dull green skin removed to reveal the shiny, vibrant green jewel inside and smothered in parmesan and slick of good olive oil.

For this recipe I made a pesto of wild garlic and roughly mashed the beans with it, adding some sundried tomato for a mild hit of acidity. If you don’t have wild garlic, a pesto of mint, garlic and walnut is a good substitute.

Broad beans and wild garlic pesto


1 kg broad beans

1 tbsp chopped sundried tomatoes

2 pieces of bread of your choice, toasted

For the pesto

1 big handful of wild garlic

1 handful of walnuts

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of half a lemon

3-4tbsp olive oil

80g parmesan cheese, grated (leave a little for later)

Salt and pepper

In a food processor, whiz up the pesto ingredients adding more oil if needed. Season to taste.

Pod the beans and place in boiling water, simmer for 2-3 minutes (depending on the size of the beans). Cool in ice cold water and then remove the skin from the beans.

Place in a bowl and roughly mash. Add the pesto and sundried tomatoes and mix.

Dollop the mixture onto your slices on bread and sprinkle the last of the parmesan on top and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.