This garlic scape pesto takes advantage of the punchy flavor of garlic scapes alongside the richness of walnuts and olive oil. It's a wonderful alternative to traditional basil pesto and a great way to use garlic scapes during the short season they're available.
If you haven't ventured out into the world of "alternative" pestos, you're in for a treat. I was skeptical about kale pesto, but now I'm a convert.
So when a big bunch of garlic scapes turned up in our weekly CSA box, I knew it was time to try out some garlic scape pesto. Some recipes recommend using garlic scapes in basil pesto in place of garlic cloves. But in this recipe, the garlic scapes are the star of the show and the basil is the subtle accent.
When I make any kind of pesto, I alternate the type of nuts and seeds. Pine nuts are a classic and add botanical buttery goodness, but OMG have you heard of pine mouth? If you eat a specific variety of pine nuts (or possibly just too many pine nuts in general—the cause is not 100% determined) called Pinus armandii, a variety native to China, they will affect your taste buds and everything you eat for the next few WEEKS will taste bitter and metallic.
So, yeah...sometimes I mix it up with walnuts or sunflower seeds. This garlic scape pesto recipe calls for walnuts or a mix of pine nuts and walnuts. Both versions are fantastic!
🧄 Garlic Scapes
If you subscribe to a CSA (community-supported agriculture, or basically a fruit and vegetable subscription box from a local farm) or have been scoping out the local farmers market, you may have stumbled upon some garlic scapes and wondered how to cook them. Maybe you found this post by Googling "what are garlic scapes and how do I use them?" and thought garlic scape pesto sounded delicious.
What are garlic scapes?
Garlic scapes are actually part of the garlic plant! The scapes are shoots and flower buds that grow out of the top of hardneck garlic varieties. They are harvested in late spring and early summer as part of the garlic growing process so the plant can focus its energy on growing the bulbs, which results in more flavorful garlic.
What do garlic scapes taste like?
Garlic scapes have a pungent yet palatable garlic flavor in a fibrous stalk with a texture somewhat like a kale stem. If you've ever wanted to eat straight garlic cloves without burning your mouth and resigning yourself to ever-present garlic breath, garlic scapes are a good way to get that fix.
What part of garlic scapes are edible?
You can eat the entire garlic scape, flower bud and all! When making this pesto, you'll add the whole scapes to the food processor.
How do you eat garlic scapes?
Besides making garlic scape pesto, you could use them in place of garlic cloves in any recipe, or treat them like any other vegetable by grilling, sautéing, or roasting.
Now, how about that pesto?!
- Pine Nuts (optional)
- Nutritional Yeast
- Garlic Scapes
- Fresh Basil
- Lemon Juice
- Olive Oil
Boil the pasta according to the box instructions. Meanwhile, combine the walnuts, pine nuts, and nutritional yeast in a food processor and pulse until chopped.
Add the chopped garlic scapes and basil and continue pulsing until the mixture reaches a gravel-like consistency. Add the salt and lemon juice.
Slowly drizzle in ⅓ cup olive oil while running the food processor until the mixture is sandlike and the olive oil is incorporated. If the pesto is too thick for your liking, add the remaining olive oil, or water if you prefer.
Taste and adjust flavors, then stir to coat the pasta. Top with your favorite veggies.
- The recipe makes the perfect amount of pesto for 1 pound of pasta, which is good for 4 large servings, or 6 smaller servings.
- Top the pesto pasta with your favorite veggies! I ate my leftovers with sautéed zucchini and green onions, which were also from the CSA that week.
While pasta is a great way to eat garlic scape pesto, there are many other ways to use it!
- Spread it on crackers, toast, or bruschetta.
- Mix it into a dip, such as my Pesto Cashew Sunflower Spreadable Cheese.
- Bake it into rolls or bread. What about Pesto Garlic Knots?
☀️ More spring and summer dishes
This quinoa salad makes a great side dish or light summer meal. It calls for veggies, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and a lemon tahini dressing.
Garlic scape season is also cucumber season! If your garden is producing more cucumbers than you can keep up with, a simple vinaigrette cucumber salad is the way to go.
Beyond Burgers are great and all, but sometimes we all crave the simplicity of a veggie burger made of beans and veggies! You'll want to pour the chipotle sauce all over everything, trust me. It makes a great dip and salad dressing too.
- 3 tablespoons walnuts
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts (or more walnuts)
- 1 ½ tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 10 garlic scapes, chopped
- ½-1 cup fresh basil
- ¼ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ⅓-½ cup olive oil
- 1 pound pasta
- Boil the pasta according to the box instructions.
- Meanwhile, combine the walnuts, pine nuts, and nutritional yeast in a food processor and pulse until chopped.
- Add the chopped garlic scapes and basil and continue pulsing until the mixture reaches a gravel-like consistency.
- Add the salt and lemon juice.
- Slowly drizzle in ⅓ cup olive oil while running the food processor until the mixture is sandlike and the olive oil is incorporated.
- If the pesto is too thick for your liking, add the remaining olive oil, or water if you prefer.
- Taste and adjust flavors, then stir to coat the pasta.
- Top with your favorite veggies.
- The nutritional facts include the pasta, and the recipe makes the perfect amount of pesto to coat 1 pound of pasta.
- There are many other ways to eat the pesto! Spread it on bread or crackers, mix into a dip, or bake it into bread or rolls.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 661Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 43gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 138mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 4gSugar: 1gProtein: 10g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on seitanbeatsyourmeat.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimates.