Ready in less than 10 minutes, this easy-to-use garlic scape pesto is perfect for those garlic you got at CSA or at the farmer’s market. Delicious on bread, pasta, vegetables, proteins, aka all things!Garlic scape pesto is my favorite way to use garlic scape in the kitchen! It’s garlicky, cheesy, fresh and vibrant green. And it’s very easy to make in less than 10 minutes.
Aside from the garlic pieces, this recipe only requires 5 ingredients, most of which are probably already in your fridge or pantry.
What are garlic scapes?
Garlic clippings are the soft, wrinkled green stems that grow from the bulb of the garlic plant. They are harvested before they flower, allowing the garlic bulb to grow larger without the stems.
The scape has a vibrant flavor reminiscent of a mixture of onions, green onions, and of course, garlic. This makes the perfect savory addition to a variety of dishes that can use a kick of garlic flavor without being too overwhelming.
You can eat all parts of the squab if you like, and you can also eat it raw, fried, braised, pickled, or even roasted.
My favorite way to use garlic clove is pesto (duh), but you can use it anywhere you would normally add garlic, onions, or green onions. The options are truly endless (more on this in the FAQ later!).
It’s in season from late spring through early summer, so be sure to get a handful at the farmer’s market if you see it!
Ingredients you will need
Notes on ingredients
Garlic slices: Flavor strength. Traditional pesto recipes often contain a clove of garlic or two, and a scape will provide the same flavor, with more depth and softness. Be sure to follow the instructions on how to prepare it!
basil: It gives it the pesto flavor and vibrant color we know and love. It will also help balance out the strong garlic notes. Trim any large stems before adding them to the food processor.
Walnuts: It adds structure and a touch of sweetness. If you don’t have walnuts on hand, you can use pine nuts or even pecans. I like to use walnuts because they are much less expensive than pine. But pine nuts make delicious pesto too, so you can’t go wrong! I like to roast the walnuts first to help bring out their earthy strength and reduce any bitterness, but it’s not a necessary step by any means!
Parmesan cheese: It adds a savory flavor and umami flavor and can act as a binding agent.
Lemon: Give the recipe some acidity to balance the flavors and add shine.
olive oil: Emulsify everything together. I like to use extra virgin olive oil because it is the highest quality.
Equipment you will need
How to make garlic pesto sauce
Step 1: Prepare garlic cloves by trimming under bulbs and woody ends (get rid of swollen ends and woody ends).
Step 2: Cut the remaining scape into 1-inch pieces.
Step 3: Add the garlic and basil pieces to a food processor, and blend well.
The fourth step: Add the walnuts and mix until combined. Scrape sides of blender/food processor as needed.
Fifth step: With the blender or food processor running, place the olive oil into the oil until it emulsifies and the pesto looks homogeneous.
Sixth step: Add Parmesan cheese and blend until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- You can throw all the ingredients into the food processor at once but I find that I get a much smoother, more consistent consistency when I pulse the ingredients in steps (shown above and in the recipe card).
- If you find the pesto is too bitter for you, add more basil and/or Parmesan cheese!
- For a thinner texture, add more olive oil.
Questions and answers garlic scape pesto
What part of garlic scape do you use?
You can eat the whole scape, but for this pesto, I recommend cutting the bulb and the woody end (similar to asparagus) because they tend to be tough and stringy.
How do you chop garlic for pesto?
Once you have removed the bulb and the woody part of the stem, you can roughly chop the rest. Since it will be used in a blender or food processor, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Aim for a 1-2 inch cut.
How do you use garlic scape pesto?
I use this pesto for just about everything. Sandwiches, pasta, bread, eggs, fish, chicken, vegetables, you name it. Plus, it’s easy to make a big batch and then freeze in an ice cube tray so you can take it out when you need it!
What else can I do by cutting garlic?
a lot of things! Replace it with green onions or chives in any recipe. Use it to add a light garlic flavor to a recipe. Cut into small cubes and add to scrambled eggs with goat cheese (my personal favourite). Fry it to use as pizza or pasta. Make compound butter. You can even pickle them!
Why is pesto scape bitter with garlic?
The bitter flavor is often due to the excessive emulsification of the olive oil. Olive oil contains natural bitter compounds that can be released if overprocessed. Likewise, basil can also become bitter if it is mixed too often. To avoid this, add the olive oil very slowly on a low mixing speed and blend until the desired consistency is reached. You can also add more Parmesan cheese and/or basil to help.
How long can you store pesto?
The pesto will keep for up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator. However, it will last up to six months in the freezer.
Can you freeze garlic scape pesto?
yes! I like to freeze pesto in ice cube trays so I can easily make one or two out, depending on how much I need. Once frozen in ice cube trays, transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag for long-term storage, up to six months in the freezer!
Recipes that pair well:
For more summer side inspiration, check out my recipes below!
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This recipe has been retested, reformulated, and revamped to bring you the most delicious (and prettiest) dishes ever! The original post was published in July 2019.
Ready in less than 10 minutes, this easy-to-use garlic scape pesto is perfect for those garlic you got at CSA or at the farmer’s market. Delicious on bread, pasta, vegetables, proteins, aka all things!
- 1 Handfuls or 10-13 garlic cloves, bulb and woody ends removed, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup chopped)
- 1/2 cup packed basil
- 1/2 cup Roasted walnut pieces
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
- 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare garlic cloves by trimming the bottom of the bulb and the woody ends. Cut the remaining scape into 1-inch pieces.
- In a high-speed blender or food processor, add the garlic and basil pieces and mix together.
- Add the walnuts and mix until combined. Scrape sides of blender/food processor as needed.
- With the blender or food processor running, purée the olives into the oil until they emulsify and the pesto looks homogeneous.
- Add Parmesan cheese and lemon juice and mix until combined.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Store the pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to six months.
- I like to freeze pesto in ice cube trays and then transfer it to a freezer bag for long-term storage. This allows me to use a little more pesto when I need it.
- Preparation time: 5 minutes
- category: sauce
- method: blender
- dishes: Italian
Key words: Pesto garlic scape