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Recipe for grilled beef teriyaki skewers with ramps (or scallions)


Did you know that ramps are an endangered plant? That there's only one natural habitat in all of Rhode Island? That the location of that habitat is a closely-guarded secret? And that I know someone who knows where it is? I didn't know any of that until last week, when my husband Ted went out for a bike ride, fell in with a friend who lives up the road, and returned home with a bag of ramps, roots and dirt attached. Right away I thought of these grilled beef teriyaki skewers, substituting ramps for the more traditional scallions. My panini press cooked the beef in less than two minutes; you also could use a stove top grill pan or cast iron skillet, any pan that gets hot enough to create a nice sear on the meat. Because we don't like raw onions, I grilled the ramps first, then rolled the marinated beef around them and grilled the meat. Before I began cooking, Ted and I took half of the ramps and stuck them into our garden. If they take, I'll let you know -- but you'll have to keep it a secret.


Grilled beef teriyaki skewers with ramps (or scallions)

From the pantry, you'll need: reduced-sodium soy sauce, dark soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, agave nectar, sake.

Marinade and basting sauce adapted from Rasa Malaysia and No Recipes. Makes 20 pieces.


For the marinade:
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp mirin

1/2 lb flank steak, very thinly sliced across the grain
20 ramps, stems only, cut into 2-inch lengths (or scallions, green and white parts); save the leaves for garnish

For the teriyaki basting sauce:
2 Tbsp agave nectar
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp mirin
2 Tbsp sake


First, put 20 small skewers or long toothpicks in a bowl of water, to soak.

In a small bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Thinly slice the flank steak, across the grain, and marinate the slices in the marinade for 20 minutes at room temperature. (To make it easier to slice the meat, you can freeze it for 30 minutes.)

While the meat is marinating, pre-heat your grill pan or panini press. Trim the ramps or scallions into two-inch lengths. When your pan or press is hot, grill the ramps for 1 minute or until lightly charred. Remove, and set aside.

In a small, straight-sided sauté pan, heat the teriyaki basting sauce ingredients over low heat, for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly and the ingredients come together. Remove from heat, and set aside.

To assemble, remove strips of beef from the marinade. Place a piece of ramp (or scallion) across one end, and roll up the meat. Stick a skewer through, to keep the roll together. Repeat until all are assembled.

Place as many rolls as will fit in your panini press or grill pan. Brush each with the basting sauce. Close the press, or cook on a grill pan for 1 minute. Turn the skewers over, and brush the second side with basting sauce. Close the press, or cook in the pan for 1 minute more.

Remove, and repeat until all are cooked. Serve hot or at room temperature.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Roasted salmon teriyaki
Chicken yakitori
Shrimp teriyaki
Teriyaki tofu wraps
Grilled flank steak with ponzu and honey glaze

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Miso-marinated grilled salmon, from Andrea Meyers
Teriyaki chicken wings, from White on Rice Couple
Low-sugar (or sugar-free) teriyaki chicken, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Soy sesame salmon tartare with avocado, from Jeanette's Healthy Living
Spicy beef in dark soy sauce, from My Kitchen Snippets

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Do you know of a secret ramp garden in Denver? These look delicious and what a sweet hubby you have. Good luck with your transplants!

This looks perfect for a sunny Sunday!

This dish looks fantastic, Lydia! I am pretty sure that ramps are still available around here, but admit that it's been a long time since I've enjoyed them. My late FIL, who loved greens of any type that you had to gather from favorite "special" spots and who was in charge of cooking them when needed, had some on hand a few times for dinner.


I had never heard of ramps as a food eaten in our time until about a year ago. I had a vague memory that Rapunzel's mother craved them when she was pregnant, her father stole them from the witch, and that's how Rapunzel wound up in the tower. How's that for a power food?

Jill, I don't even know where the secret location is here in Rhode Island! Some of our local farmers do grow ramps and bring them to farmers' markets.

CJ, perfect for any day. We couldn't stop eating them.

Shirley, I wonder if ramp foragers are like mushroom foragers, reluctant to give up the secret locations where they harvest?

Susan, I love the Rapunzel story (and had no memory of it at all -- how do you know remember these things?!). Thanks so much for sharing it.

I've never tried ramps before, but I've seen them at Whole Foods. Love how you did this in the panini press.

Jeanette, do try them. They have a wonderful sweetness, especially when grilled or roasted. And thanks to the popularity of ramps on restaurant menus, they're just not that easy to find.

OK, I give up...what's a ramp (short of the vehicular ones, leading up to freeways) and are they like truffles, my girl? Most delicate and only live in rarified climate like special fungi (mushrooms?). I have suspicion they're like leeks or turnips but don't know. Please elucidate..for I might like. Could be they're like fiddlehead ferns, too...a rare species only appearing during its short growing season...

Colleen, ramps are wild leeks, though they look like large, leafy scallions and taste more like garlic. The leaves in these photos are from the tops of the ramps. They seem to be somewhat particular about climate. And yes, like fiddleheads (which I'm finding on the roadsides all around my neighborhood right now), their season is short.

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