July 1st, 2013

Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto (Market Monday)

Until last week, I’d never even heard of a garlic scape.  And I certainly didn’t know what to do with one.  But as a garlic lover, I was definitely intrigued.

Basically, a garlic scape is the stalk of a garlic plant. As a garlic bulb begins to grow, the stalk lengthens and curves, giving the scape the appearance of a long, curly green onion, but with a mild garlic flavor.  Garlic scapes are “in season” for a relatively short period of time, because as the garlic bulb matures, the stalk becomes tough and difficult to eat.  But if it’s harvested at just the right time, the scape is relatively tender, making it an ideal ingredient for adding garlic flavor to things like stir-fries, dips and pesto.

Garlic Scape Collage

If you belong to a CSA and this unique vegetable shows up in your share, try adding it to recipes that  would typically use garlic cloves.  Since my basil plants are practically taking over the garden, I decided to make a basil and garlic scape pesto.  Pesto is so easy to make–you can have a batch ready to go in less than 10 minutes–and it’s a great addition to pastas and salads.   We also love to use it as a pizza sauce.  Although pine nuts are often used in a traditional pesto, I usually have almonds on hand, so that is what I used.

I’m told garlic scapes have a more mild flavor that the garlic bulb, but personally, I found them to be quite garlicky.  As a garlic lover, I’m not complaining, just letting you know…..so don’t go too heavy on the garlic scape pesto if you’re planning to be in confined spaces with other people.  And definitely not if you have a romantic interlude in your near future.  Otherwise, dig in.

Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto

Depending on the garlic scapes you use, this pesto can have quite a garlicky bite straight off the spoon, but when we tossed it with some pasta for dinner, it had a very mild flavor.  This recipe makes enough pesto to toss with about 12-16 ounces of pasta.

Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto

Preparation 10 2017-04-28T00:00:00+00:00 Cook Time 2017-04-28T00:00:00+00:00
Serves 1     adjust servings


  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese


  1. Place the garlic scapes, basil, lemon juice, salt and half of the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the basil and garlic scapes are finely chopped. Add the toasted almonds and process until smooth.
  2. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the remaining oil until everything is well blended. Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse a few more times.
  3. Season with additional salt, if needed. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Recipe Notes

Makes about 1 cup.

Who Dished It Up First: Adapted from Serious Eats

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  1. Very interesting.. thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. We love that garlic flavor so will definitely have to make this.

  3. i love (and grow LOTS of) garlic, too – and glad to see you note scapes have that garlic bite. sure never seemed ‘milder’ to me.
    SCAPES are on NOW (just started pulling them 2 days ago) and was looking for a recipe WITH basil, so will be trying this today. thanks!


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