Food & Drink

What the Heck Are Ramps and How Do You Use Them?

What the Heck Are Ramps and How Do You Use Them?
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On your last restaurant outing or food blog browse, you may have noticed a dish or recipe that calls for “ramps.” But before you think it's some not-so-nouveau way of trucking in groceries, it's actually a wild onion species that has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years, making its way into pastas, pizza, and spreads. “I think that chefs at high-end restaurants have been using ramps for a while, but now that they can be harvested and foraged on plots of land, they’re becoming more readily accessible, and are popping up on more menus,” explains Stephanie Izard, a Top Chef winner and owner of restaurants Girl & the Goat, Little Goat Diner, and the newly opened Duck Duck Goat.

“My favorite way to cook the white parts of ramps is to grill and then pickle them, so you can enjoy them a bit later in the season, and my favorite way to enjoy the green parts is sautéed in a simple stir fry,” says Izard, who encourages homecooks to use ramps as a substitute for garlic and onion. “Ramps add a very spring-y and bright flavor to everything they’re in, including our Grilled Ramp Marinated Shrimp dish at Girl & the Goat.” Below, find the scrumptious recipe.

Shannon Monson

RELATED: This Easy, Pea-sy Dish Is Perfect for a Busy Weeknight Dinner

Grilled Ramp Marinated Shrimp

Serves 4


4 cups ramp greens
2 tbsp fresh mint
2 tbsp soy sauce
¾ cup rice bran or canola oil
¼ cup harissa ($6;
2 lbs (about 16-20) peeled and de-veined tail-on shrimp 

RELATED: Win Your Next BBQ with This Simple Shrimp and Radish Salad Recipe


1. To make the marinade, combine all ingredients except for shrimp in a blender and blend until smooth. 

2. Toss shrimp with marinade and refrigerate in sauce for at least an hour before grilling.

3. Preheat grill with a fish tray to medium-high heat. Lay shrimp on tray and cook for 3 minutes on either side. Shrimp will turn bright orange when ready to flip.

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