Garlic Scape Pesto

by Becky
Published: Updated:

When hardneck garlic begins to mature it forms a middle stem with a bud that will eventually flower. The young and tender stem is called a garlic scape. Garlic scapes are edible and taste like a mix of garlic and onion, and the texture is similar to asparagus. If they are new to you, or you have a lot of them, garlic scape pesto is a delicious way to prepare them.

Mason jar filled with fresh garlic scape pesto, sitting on a table.

Tips for Making Garlic Scape Pesto

  1. While the entire garlic scape can be eaten, I usually chop off the flower portion since the tips are very tough. 
  2. If you pick the garlic scapes when they are very fresh and not too big, they are more tender and better for pesto. Alternatively, if you get them from a farmers market, make sure they are bright green and do not look dry. Freshness is key to the best flavor.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • Mellow: Raw garlic scapes are similar to raw garlic. They are very strong in flavor with a burning and spicy sensation when it hits your mouth. To combat this and make a mellow pesto, I toast my garlic scapes and nuts prior to blending all the ingredients together.
  • Freezer Friendly: Garlic scapes are very seasonal, so if you love the pesto you can make a bulk batch and freeze it! It will last one year in the freezer when stored in vacuum seal bags.

Ingredients

Garlic Scapes– Choose the most tender you can find! If you have scapes that are tough, I recommend turning them into garlic scape powder instead.

Nuts– I tested this recipe using walnuts because pine nuts are too expensive for my taste! However, the most delicious flavor in this garlic scape pesto is achieved by using pine nuts because they are so mild in flavor.

Salt– Any salt will do, but my personal favorite is Redmond’s Real Salt.

Lemon Juice– Fresh lemon juice is has the best flavor. However, if you only have canned lemon juice in the pantry, it canned be used as a substitute.

Parmesan Cheese– Grate your parmesan from a wedge of cheese right before using. Freshly grated parmesan cheese gives the best flavor and texture. Pre-shredded parmesan is often dry and tough so avoid using it if you can.

Olive Oil– The addition of olive oil binds the garlic scape pesto into a perfect spread. You can use any type of olive oil for this recipe.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic scapes are edible and taste like a mix of garlic and onion, and the texture is similar to asparagus. If they are new to you, or you have a lot of them, garlic scape pesto is a delicious way to prepare them.
Prep Time10 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: garlic, garlic scapes, pesto, scapes
Servings: 6

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/4 cups chopped garlic scapes
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese optional
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions

  • Toast garlic scapes and nuts in a skillet with oil over medium heat stirring constantly for about 5 minutes or until the scapes start to soften. The nuts burn easily so keep stirring!
  • Add garlic scapes, walnuts, lemon, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese to a food processor. Process until mostly smooth.
  • As the food processor is running, slowly pour in the oil. Store in containers in the refrigerator. Garlic scape pesto can also be frozen for later use.

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