Great Northern Ramp Pasta

Great Northern Ramp Pasta

Great Northern Ramp Pasta

Good day, eh, and welcome to the Great White North. I’m Bob, and this is my brother Doug.

Our topic today, is, like, Great Northern beans and some great wild leeks, or ramps.

Don’t be a total hoser and take off without reading the rest of the post! (I promise I’ll stop it now…)

I’ve been on a “cooking dried beans” kick lately. It’s partly due to the rising cost of canned beans (seriously, over $1 for a can that I used to be able to get for $.60 on sale???) and partly because there are types of beans that I can’t easily find canned. Once I found a method that worked for me, I stuck with it. So far, this method has worked well with chick peas, black turtle beans, romano beans… and now Great Northern Beans.

Why did I pick Great Northern Beans, you ask? Because they sound Canadian!! Not sure they actually are, but they *sound* like it, and they’re kind of cute.  Also, legumes are really good for you, especially if you don’t eat meat daily (comme moi). As a side note: I found this recipe for White Bean Salad with Za’atar (from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen) that I’m definitely going to try this salad & grill season (a.k.a ‘Summer’).

Ramps / Wild Leeks
Ramps / Wild Leeks

Going along with my ‘it seems Canadian (but is it?)’ theme, I bought some wild Ontario leeks (or, ramps). Looking it up, it seems there’s a bit of controversy over this little plant. It isn’t commercially grown, and is generally picked in the wild. That would be OK, except that it’s becoming a victim of its own popularity – you see, you have to pull the whole plant when you pick it, ensuring that another plant will not regrow in its place. It could actually become endangered here, as it almost has in other areas. This article is a pretty interesting read on the topic. It’s a bit of a bummer, because I found the wild leeks to be really tasty.

I’m certainly not the only one playing with the ramps this season… I found a fun recipe for Spaetzle with Ramps and Crimini Mushrooms (from Not Eating Out in New York) that I’m totally dying to try. Yum!

In any case, this was a fun pasta dish to toss up on a busy night. Of course, I added sausage to it, but you don’t have to! If you don’t, I would recommend adding some smoked paprika to the sautéeing onion, and maybe add a little bit more garlic and some freshly ground black pepper. (Note to self: no more posting pasta with sausage recipes!! There are enough already! Need proof? Just look in the related links…)

Great Northern Ramp Pasta!


  • 1.5 cups cooked Great Northern beans (canned will work)
  • 3 cups short pasta (like penne or fusilli), cooked according to package
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 link spicy smoked sausage, chopped or small slices (I used Hungarian Csabai)
  • 1 cup quartered mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and/or minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 small orange pepper, sliced
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small bunch of ramps, cleaned and roughly chopped (white and green parts separated)
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • parmesan cheese, grated to serve
  • coarse sea salt, to taste
  • freshly grated black pepper, to taste


  1. Heat oil in a deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add chili flakes.
  2. Cook onion until softened and golden. Add lemon zest.
  3. Add sausage and cook for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook until browned.
  4. Add garlic and white ramps, and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add beans, and thyme.
  6. Add sliced pepper, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
  7. Turn heat down to medium-low. Add cherry tomatoes and green ramps, toss.
  8. Add pasta, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss.
  9. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  10. Top with freshly grated parmesan and serve!

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