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Garlic scape pesto recipe

Garlic scape pesto recipe

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Garlic scapes, the curled stems from the top of a garlic plant make an easy, fragrant pesto that can be spread on bread or crackers, put on pasta, used with fish or as a substitute for garlic, onion or scallions! Add to sandwiches, pasta, lamb or fish dishes. Tastes great mixed with mayo.

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 28

  • 450g garlic scapes, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 100g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 235ml olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

MethodPrep:10min ›Ready in:10min

  1. Blend the garlic scapes, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and pepper together in a food processor until smooth.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(50)

Reviews in English (45)

by bmweisberger

I LOVE garlic scape pesto. So much, that this is my first reveiw! I made this recipe, though I was not exact about the measurements, as I just used all the garlic scapes I had. I don't think you can go wrong--but it's spicy, in the garlicky way! If it's to spicy for you, you can blanch the garlic scapes first. Also, this keeps in the freezer. I put it in 8 oz canning jars, filled 1/2 from top and freeze...-17 Jul 2011


I agree that it has a different texture than basil pesto. It was good on pasta and I also mixed a little into some chicken salad. It kept covered in the fridge for several days.-18 Oct 2009

by Linda Bradford

It has a different texture than basil pesto but the flavor was good. I added chopped walnuts. Did'nt have pinenuts-21 Jul 2009

28 Recipes Using Garlic Scapes

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One of the reasons I started this blog was to provide practical support for local eating.

Eating locally means you're eating foods in season--when they taste the best! It also means you're introduced to new foods. At the start of the farmer's market and CSA season these funny looking garlic scapes are many folks' first experience with a new food.

I'm so pleased with this Garlic Scape Recipe Round Up! Right here in one a single place I've gathered more than 28 recipes using this wonderfully versatile and locally available plant part.

Pin this for later!

This amazing photo is from Stephanie of Garden Therapy

My fellow food bloggers and I share what you can fix if you have scapes from your garden (it's easy to grow your own garlic), your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share, or your farmer's market. Garlic scapes are ready to harvest all at once, only once a year, so it's a good idea to have a mess of ideas in your toolkit so you can plan ahead in the kitchen.

I've broken down the recipes by category [because cataloging recipes seems to be something I like to do on this blog]. I've got pestos, starters, sides and mains. There are garlic scape recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are gluten free and vegan recipes using garlic scapes. There are recipes for stove top, oven, microwave, and grill.

For even more recipes using garlic scapes, please see my Garlic and Garlic Scape Recipes Collection. It's part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.

I'm sharing more recipes on my Pinterest boards, follow me there. If you like a good peek behind the scenes like I do, follow me on Instagram. Need a good read? I'm sharing articles of interest on my Facebook page, follow me there. Want to know How to Use This Blog?

My favorite way to use garlic scapes is to put up a mess of Garlic Scape Pistachio Pesto. I freeze it into small cubes and use it year round in salad dressings, Chicken Garlic Scape Meatballs, pizza sauces, Herbed Garlic Scape Cream Cheese Spread/Dip, my Cheesy Garlic Scape Pesto Flatbread, Grilled Garlic Scape Pesto Smashed Potatoes, Shrimp and Garlic Scape Pesto Scampi, and this hummus. I've got a quick video how I make it, and you can find the Garlic Scape Pistachio Pesto recipe specifics here.

Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe

  • 1 cup garlic scapes, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

In a food processor, process the garlic scapes and basil for 30 seconds.

Add the nuts and process for another 30 seconds.

Slowly drizzle in the olive oil as you continue to run the food processor.

Add in the parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Mix and taste, adjusting the salt/pepper as desired.

Use the pesto over fresh homemade pasta (my favorite), use it as a sauce for homemade pizza, or smear it on a bit of crusty bread.

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Walnut Garlic Scape Pesto

  • 2 cups roughly chopped garlic scapes
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  • Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (reserved)

Put all of the ingredients except the cheese into a food processor and pulse to combine into a smooth paste. Add more olive oil for a smoother consistency and add salt/pepper to taste. If you plan to use this pesto right away, add the grated cheese and blend together for a few more seconds.

If you plan to freeze a jar or so of this pesto, don’t add the cheese at this stage. Pack the pesto into freezer canning jars and label. When you thaw the pesto to use it in the future, add the grated parm then.

Recipes That Make The Most Of Garlic Scapes

If you find yourself staring at a garlic scape thinking, "WTF is that?" don't worry. You're not alone. They might be something of a mystery to many, but garlic scapes are worth getting to know. They're twisty, curly, bright green stems that shoot up from garlic bulbs. They are also sometimes called garlic shoots, stems, spears, or, our favorite, serpent garlic.

The garlic that we all know and love has separate cloves and papery skin. That stuff starts out as green garlic (or spring garlic), before it matures. The bulb and roots grow underground while a stem, leaves and scapes soak up sunshine up above.

Obviously, garlic is amazing for lots of reasons, but here's our favorite one: the whole plant is edible. This includes the scapes, which are treats that come along early each summer in markets and CSAs. Using the whole plant isn't only trendy, it's responsible and will open your horizons. Garlic scapes, you win this one.

Scapes taste (duh) like garlic, but a bright, fresh, verdant version of it. You can use them anywhere you'd use regular garlic. So is there any real reason you should buy garlic scapes instead of garlic? Cooking with garlic scapes is like getting to have scallions that taste like garlic -- so yes, go get some while they're around!

Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe

This recipe is super easy and super delicious!

This recipe simply replaces the garlic bulbs with the scapes, the flowering part of the garlic plant.

If this is your first time, first test the strength of your garlic scapes by biting into one. If you get your scapes from farmers markets, they can oftentimes their flavor can be so concentrated and potent that it makes for a STRONG pesto.

We harvest our fresh garlic scapes as early as possible so the flower hasn&rsquot had a lot of time to develop and the mild garlic flavor is enjoyable.

We want to enjoy our pesto, not clear a room with our fragrant pesto breath.

If your scapes are too strong, place them in a colander in your sink and run a couple cups of boiling water over top. Let it drain well.

This tends to temper the really garlicky scapes.

To make the pesto, simply chop up your garlic scapes, and combine with pine nuts, juice from half a lemon, basil leaves, parmesan cheese, salt and black pepper to taste and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor.

Blend until smooth. You can either serve this batch of pesto immediately, store in a jar in the fridge with a layer of olive oil on top to keep the green from turning brown.

In the fridge it will last for a couple of days or you can pour your pesto into ice cube trays, freeze them, and store them in a ziploc bag.

Tips and Tricks

If you don&rsquot have garlic scapes, you can always make traditional basil pesto and simply use two cloves of garlic instead.

To save money pine nuts can be substituted with walnuts, sunflower seeds, or pistachios!

The lemon juice can be substituted for lime or left out altogether.

If you want to double the recipe and make pesto to freeze, omit the cheese, freeze the pesto, and add the cheese when you serve it.

Choose your olive oil carefully, Greek olive oil plays up the garlic while Spanish olive oil cuts it.

No basil? Substitute the greens of carrot tops.

For a vegan garlic scape pesto recipe, simply omit the cheese!

How to Serve Garlic Scape Pesto

Naturally my first thought for pesto is pasta, with grilled shrimp on top.

But my favorite way make a pesto, sundried tomatoes and goat cheese bake on top of chicken or as a sandwich spread.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Todd Coleman

Garlic’s young shoots perfume this mild pesto, perfect for tossing with fresh egg pasta. If you can’t find scapes, substitute green garlic or a combination of garlic and chives. This recipe first appeared in SAVEUR Issue #140 along with Laura Schenone’s story Glorious Pesto.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto

Garlic scapes are the long curly stem that grows from hard-necked garlic. This type of garlic is the one most commonly grown in North America, but it comes as a surprise that very few people know of garlic scapes, much less have eaten them. These long, tender stems need to be chopped off so the garlic bulb can grow and be harvested. If not, the plant expends its energy trying to feed the stems and flowers, yielding small garlic bulbs. Thus, garlic is one of the few plants that need to be harvested twice, first for the scapes, then for the bulbs.

These surprisingly tender and flavorful stems will make a wonderful addition to your weekly shopping list, as they can be used in sauces, stir-fries, salads, soups, and stews. Their flavor is a mixture of the best of onions, garlic, and scallions, which makes them a three-in-one addition to your savory recipes.

Once you've tried scapes, they'll become your new favorite allium. Added to our basil pesto, the resulting sauce is a vibrant and herby ingredient that you can use to top pasta, potatoes, rice, salads, chicken, beef, pork, or slices of mozzarella di buffalla. Another great feature of this pesto is that it doesn't brown as fast as regular pesto, and freezes beautifully—spoon garlic scape pesto into ice cube trays—once the cubes are frozen, remove and transfer to a plastic freezer bag.

Garlic Scape Pesto #1

Hands down, our favorite use for garlic scapes is pesto, which we freeze in ice cube trays and then pull out individual cubes for use all winter long. We don’t reserve pesto for pasta. We use pesto on everything, from a sandwich spread to piling on baked potatoes. Yuummm, scrumptious! Dick’s basic recipe:


1/4 cup pine nuts, sunflower seeds, or walnuts

3/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes*

Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

*Or use half scapes and half fresh herbs such as basil, dill and chervil

• In a small, dry pan set over very low heat, lightly toast the pine nuts, stirring or tossing occasionally until just beginning to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

• Combine the scapes, pine nuts, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse about 20 times, until fairly well combined. Pour in the olive oil slowly through the feed tube while the motor is running.

When the oil is incorporated, transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese. If you plan to freeze the pesto, wait to add the cheese until after you’ve defrosted it.