mustard garlic and walnut pesto

Jack by the Hedge

Wild garlic is all over the place and by that I mean all over the food blog world, food magazines, TV and radio programmes.  It’s not, however, all over the place growing.  I found, and cooked wild garlic in Edinburgh recently and it was a revelation, such a beautiful flavour.  I’ve been on walks before and smelled its tell-tale pungent, feral scent but since I have been actively looking for it it’s hidden itself well.


I put out a plea for this elusive plant and although the wild garlic evaded me I made a happy new discovery –  Jack by the Hedge. This plant is also known as wild mustard, mustard garlic and poor man’s mustard. Despite this last humble name it’s really rather good.

I’m enamoured by the old English folk name Jack by the Hedge and a new fan of the subtle garlic / mustard taste of the leaves and young flowers.  It’s very common and as the name would suggest it is found in hedgerows.  I’ve also come across it in woodland and close to river banks too.  You can find out more about this great foraging prize here.

My lovely friend Donna arrived with an armful of this new found ingredient and like the Scottish wild garlic I made pesto with it.  I made it with walnuts, strong cheddar and rapeseed oil to use all ingredients that are grown or produced in Britain, for no other reason than I thought that would be a pretty cool thing to do.

And just like buses, once I’d discovered the abundant Jack by the Hedge Lola declared that she had wild garlic growing in her garden.  She arrived on Sunday with an armful complete with roots still attached. I made haste and planted it.  It’s looking good.  Search over.

Mustard Garlic and Walnut Pesto

Serves 4
Prep time 30 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Use this pesto with pasta or, as I did, as a topping for a tomato tart

What you will need

  • 1 Large bunch mustard garlic or wild garlic (finely chopped)
  • 100g walnuts (finely chopped)
  • 100g strong cheddar cheese (finely grated)
  • 2 fat garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 100ml rapeseed oil
  • splash fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper


Step 1 In a pestle and mortar bash up the mustard garlic or wild garlic
Step 2 Add the chopped walnuts and garlic and keep bashing
Step 3 Pour in the oil
Step 4 Season and add a squeeze of lemon juice if required


I’m adding this link to the Cooking with Herbs bloggers challenge at the lovely Lavender and Lovage blog


  • This looks delicious! Let me know how you get on with your culivated wild garlic patch, I might just bung some in my garden too (once we’ve finally cleared it!). Love the look of the new site by the way, very smart.

    • Sarah Scott (Author)

      Thank you, I love the new site too and I’m getting a handle on WordPress too, thanks for the encouragement. I will keep you posted about the wild garlic , it’s looking good so far and we even have some flowers budding..

  • Gita

    This recipe looks good. But must inform you of this WARNING:

    Putting raw garlic gloves into oil increasing the risk of Botulism. Botulism is a serious incurable disease which causes muscle paralysis. NEVER put raw garlic into oil without taking suitable precautions first. i.e. adding citric acid, cooking garlic first and refridgeration.
    The risk may be small but it is not worth taking.

  • What a FASCINATING post and such an amazing recipe too……thanks so much for entering this into my herbs challenge, and I loved reading this post! Karen

    • Sarah Scott (Author)

      Thank you Karen. It’s a bit old this post but Jack by the Hedge is a very underused herb – not many people know about it and it’s really lovely to eat and cook with so I thought I’d add it to the (very impressive) list 🙂

  • That sounds very delicious. Jack by the Hedge … I like that name. I really should do some foraging from time to time.

    • Sarah Scott (Author)

      Hello! It’s a lovely name isn’t it? Go for it, there are some amazing things to find out there, and at this time of year it only increases.. Enjoy!

  • Sarah Scott (Author)

    Thank you! Yes, give Jack by the hedge or mustard garlic as it is more commonly known, a go it’s a lovely subtle flavour

  • Sarah Scott (Author)

    Wow! Thank you that’s great x

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