Ready in less than 10 minutes, my easy garlic scape pesto is the perfect use for those garlic scapes you got in your CSA or at the farmer’s market. Delicious on bread, pasta, veggies, proteins, aka all the things!Garlic scape pesto is my favorite way to use garlic scapes in the kitchen! Its garlicky, cheesy, fresh and vibrantly green. And it’s super easy to make in less than 10 minutes.
Aside from the garlic scapes, this recipe only calls for 5 ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your fridge or pantry.
What are Garlic Scapes
Garlic scapes are the curly, tender green stems that grow from the bulb of the garlic plant. They are harvested before they flower, which allows the garlic bulb to grow larger without its stems.
Scapes have a vibrant flavor reminiscent of a combo between onion, scallions, and of course, garlic. This makes them the perfect savory addition to a variety of dishes that could use a kick of garlicky flavor without being too overpowering.
You can eat all parts of the scapes if you’d like, and you can also eat it raw, sautéed, braised, blended, or even roasted.
My favorite way to use garlic scapes is pesto (duh), but you can use them anywhere you’d typically add garlic, onion, or scallions. The options are truly endless (more on this in the FAQs later!).
They’re in season from late spring through early summer, so be sure to grab a bunch at the farmer’s market if you see it!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Notes on Ingredients
Garlic scapes: The flavor powerhouse. Traditional pesto recipes often have a garlic clove or two involved, and scapes will provide that same flavor, with a bit more depth and softness. Make sure to follow the instructions on how to prep it!
Basil: Gives it the pesto flavor and vibrant hue we know and love. It also will help to balance out stronger garlicky notes. Prune any big stems before adding to the food processor.
Walnuts: Adds structure and a touch of sweetness. If you don’t have walnuts nuts on hand, you can use pine nuts or even pecans. I like using walnuts because they’re much less expensive than pine nuts. But pine nuts yield a delicious pesto too so you really can’t go wrong! I like toasting my walnuts first to help bring out their earthiness and reduce any bitterness but it’s not a necessary step by any means!
Parmesan cheese: Adds a savory, umami flavor and can act as a binding agent.
Lemon: Gives the recipe some acidity to balance out the flavors and add brightness.
Olive oil: Emulsifies everything together. I like using extra virgin olive oil as it’s the highest quality.
Equipment You’ll Need
- Food processor or high-speed blender (affiliate links – I receive a small commission if you make a purchase).
How to Make Garlic Scape Pesto
Step 1: Prep garlic scapes by trimming just below bulbs and woody ends (discarding bulbous end and woody ends).
Step 2: Chop remaining scape into 1-inch pieces.
Step 3: Add garlic scapes and basil to food processor, pulse to combine.
Step 4: Add walnuts and pulse until combined. Scrape down the sides of the blender / food processor as needed.
Step 5: With the blender or food processor running, stream in the olive oil until emulsified and pesto looks uniform.
Step 6: Add parmesan cheese and blend until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- You can throw all the ingredients in the food processor at once but I find I get a smoother, more uniform consistency when I pulse ingredients in steps (outlined above and in recipe card).
- If you find the pesto is too bitter for your liking, add more basil and/or parmesan cheese!
- For a thinner consistency, add more olive oil.
Garlic Scape Pesto FAQS
What part of the garlic scape do you use?
You can eat the entire scape, but for this pesto, I’d recommend trimming the bulb and the woody end (similar to asparagus) as they tend to be tough and stringy.
How do you cut garlic scapes for pesto?
Once you remove the bulb and woody part of the stem, you can roughly chop the rest. Since it will be going into a blender or food processor, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Aim for 1-2 inch pieces.
How do you use garlic scape pesto?
I use this pesto on almost everything. Sandwiches, pasta, bread, eggs, fish, chicken, veggies, you name it. Plus, it’s easy to make a big batch and then freeze in an ice cube tray so you can pop it out when you need it!
What else can I do with garlic scapes?
So many things! Substitute them for scallions or chives in any recipe. Use them to add mild garlic flavor to a recipe. Finely dice and add to scrambled eggs with goat cheese (my personal fave). Sauté them to use as a pizza or pasta topping. Make a compound butter. You can even pickle them!
Why is my garlic scape pesto bitter?
A bitter flavor is often due to excessive emulsification of olive oil. Olive oil has naturally occurring bitter compounds that can get released if you over-process it. Similarly, basil can also become bitter if blended too much. To avoid this, add your olive oil very slowly on a lower blend speed and blend just until desired consistency is reached. You can also add more parmesan cheese and/or basil to help.
How long can you store pesto for?
Pesto will last for up to one 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 pop 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:
- Instant Pot Whole Wheat Bread (No Knead!)
- Grilled Eggplant with Pecan Pesto
- Caprese Pasta Salad with Pesto
- Make Ahead Freezer Veggie Breakfast Sandwiches
- Air Fryer Cauliflower
For more summer sides inspiration, check out my recipes below!
- Instant Pot Vegetarian Baked Beans
- Grilled Summer Vegetables with Romesco Sauce
- Air Fryer Zucchini Chips
- No Mayo Coleslaw (made with Greek yogurt)
- 6 Ingredient Corn and Tomato Salad
If you like this recipe, please be sure to give it a 5 star rating below. If you make it, share it on Instagram and tag me @karalydonrd and I’ll re-share it with my followers! If you want to save this recipe for later, be sure to pin it on Pinterest!
This recipe was retested, reshot and revamped to bring you the most delicious (and most beautiful) dish! The original post was published July 2019.Print
Ready in less than 10 minutes, my easy garlic scape pesto is the perfect use for those garlic scapes you got in your CSA or at the farmer’s market. Delicious on bread, pasta, veggies, proteins, aka all the things!
- 1 bunch or 10-13 garlic scapes, bulb and woody ends removed, chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup chopped)
- 1/2 cup packed basil
- 1/2 cup toasted 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 scapes by trimming just below the bulb and woody ends. Chop remaining scape into 1-inch pieces.
- In a high speed blender or food processor, add garlic scapes and basil and pulse to combine.
- Add walnuts and pulse until combined. Scrape down the sides of the blender / food processor as needed.
- With the blender or food processor running, stream in the olive until emulsified and pesto looks uniform.
- Add parmesan cheese and lemon juice and blend until combined.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Store pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to six months.
- I like to freeze pesto in ice cube trays and then transfer to a freezer bag for long-term storage. This allows me to use a little bit of pesto at a time as I need it.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Sauce
- Method: Blender
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: garlic scape pesto