Friday, June 16, 2006

Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe

I freeze the Garlic Scape Pesto in a mini muffin tin for a perfect sized cube of pesto!
(Updated July 2011)  I first learned about garlic scapes in 2006 and ever since I've been using them to make pesto.  In 2011 I had the idea of combining the garlic scapes with chard, and I loved the Chard and Garlic Scape Pesto.  Through the years I've tried different options for freezing pesto, but now I am sold on the idea of freezing it in mini muffin tins, which makes cubes that seem to be just the amount of pesto I want for a recipe. 

Garlic scapes are the green curly shoots that grow out of garlic when it's young, and apparently only hardneck garlic produces garlic scapes. The scapes are sometimes called green garlic or garlic spears, although many sources call the young, underdeveloped garlic bulbs green garlic. You know you're a real foodie if you see a new food ingredient and you simply can't rest until you get to try it. That's how I felt when I learned about garlic scapes in 2006, first from In Mol Araan and then from Tigers and Strawberries. I did manage to find some at the Salt Lake Downtown Alliance Farmer's Market, and had fun looking online for ways to use them. 

I first tried some of my garlic scapes in an omelet, but I'd give that a mixed review. Although I did enjoy the garlicy/oniony flavor, I found it slightly astringent, and the taste lingered in my mouth longer than I wanted it to. This is an ingredient I would use sparingly if you're using it as a flavoring in something like a frittata or omelet. Then I made a batch of garlic scape pesto, which one online source said was the most popular use of the scapes. I liked the flavor of the pesto quite a bit, but garlic scapes are strong so in the recipe I'm posting here I reduced the amount of garlic scapes and increased the amount of cheese from the recipe I tried. Making pesto is an art not a science anyway, so if you happen to stumble on some garlic scapes, give it a try and decide for yourself how strong you'd like it.

Garlic Scape Pesto
(recipe adapted from a combination of online sources)

1/2 cup garlic scapes, finely chopped
4 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 cups grated Parmesan cheese (to taste)
salt to taste

Put garlic scapes and lemon juice in bowl of food processor with steel blade, and process until scapes are very finely chopped. With food processor running, add oil through the feed tube and process 2-3 minutes. Remove lid, add half of Parmesan cheese and process 2 minutes, then add the rest of cheese and salt and process 2-3 minutes more.

Serve tossed with hot pasta. In the photo above, I ate my pesto with Dreamfield's Linguini. This would also be good on fish, as a topping for bread, or as a seasoning for cooked rice.

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More Ideas with Garlic Scapes
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
7 Things to do with Garlic Scapes from Serious Eats
12 Ways to Use Garlic Scapes from Apple Pie, Patis, and Pate
Pickled Cukes and Garlic Scapes from Healthy Green Kitchen
Brie and Garlic Scape Pizza from Love and Olive Oil
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  1. Kalyn,
    We must be on the same wavelength today because I wrote about garlic scapes, too. It is the season!

    I would like to give your pesto recipe a try. Adding them to an omelet sounds great too.

  2. Glad to see some garlic scapes on your post - we just got them in our first crop share. I created Spinach and Garlic Scapes Pizza - will probably post the recipe later tonight. It was very good...a keeper!

    Feel free to share any other recipes...we have a whole bag of these suckers ;)


  3. This is awesome, I've never heard of garlic scapes - thanks for showing me something new :)

  4. g, I had to google Que rico, but I think it means very good? If so, thanks.

    Christa, The Chocolate Lady also wrote about scapes today. Great minds . . .

    Crystal and Ryan, there are a lot of recies online. I was surprised how many I found.

    Barbie, scapes are the green shoots from young garlic.

    Erin, I got them at the Farmers Market at Pioneer Park.

  5. kalyn,
    I ate garlic scapes often when I lived in Hongkong (Asia). My mom stir-fried it with meat (one of the blogs you highlighted also did a similar thing). After it's cooked, it's mild sweet without any garlic/onion smell. Thanks for showing this ingredient that has bought back my childhood memory! And I think using it in pesto is very innovative!

  6. Kalyn,that sounds really delicious!!

    I've never seen scapes in the shops here in Switzerland, pity, I think I'd really like to try your recipe.

  7. Beautiful photos of the garlic scapes, Kalyn! You've captured the very true colours of them. Lovely!

    As for trying them, never just yet. You're tempting me to harvest the one and only garlic scape i have!

  8. Gattina, interesting hearing how you ate these in Hong Kong. I went there and loved it, BTW.

    Pamela, I had not seen them here until I stumbled on these at the Farmers Market and The Chocolate Lady had written about them recently so I was curious.

    Mae, I read somewhere that if you pull the scape off, the garlic bulb gets bigger, so give it a try.

    Paz, thanks.

  9. Great post. And perfect timing, because now I know for sure what garlic scapes are (thought I did--and I've been just tossing them among my tomato plants to deter pests, or feeding them to the chickens for years), and also that I definitely planted softneck garlic last year instead of my usual hardneck. Plus I've realized that the kind of funky post I was thinking about for WHB this week does indeed fit right in! (Will email it to you in a bit.)

  10. That looks delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe. There are lots of scapes at our farmer's market right now; this gives me an idea what to do with them.

  11. Thanks for sharing this! I've been searching the net for scapes pesto recipes and stumbled upon your blog. This is our first year growing garlic and until now had no idea that scapes we're seeking out the various ways in which to use them. My husband and I are excited to try out your pesto recipe this evening. :-)

  12. i finally made this! i took your advice and cut down the scapes and increased the cheese. i also added toasted almonds and a few toasted walnuts and it was delicious - but we still ended up with lingering garlic breath!!!

  13. Anna, it's definitely a dish to try when both people will be eating it! I meant to try it this year again, but didn't ever see garlic scapes at the Salt Lake Farmer's Market.

  14. Kalyn,
    Just to add...a simple even bottled Italian Dressing(Newmans Balsamic works well)dip the scapes whole and throw on a hot grill for a couple minutes on each side and use as topping for steaks, chicken or even a lovely edible plate garnish! YUM

  15. Ripley, thanks. That does sound good.

  16. fantastic idea for garlic scapes! i adapted it once more and instead of parmesan, i added feta. delish!

  17. Anonymous, love the idea of using feta. I'm thinking that sounds really creamy and good.

  18. I added a few toasted almonds to this recipe, then tossed it with sweet potatoes and roasted them, and it was simply brilliant. :)

  19. Sounds good with the addition of almonds and sweet potatoes!

  20. Great experience with my first purchase of garlic scapes - thanks! I added some peas to the pesto to help cut the pungency of the scapes a bit. Also made it a lovely bright green!

  21. Ellen, glad you enjoyed it! I love the idea of adding peas to this.

  22. Kalyn,
    Thank you for sharing this recipe with me for my Garlic Scape Recipe Round Up! It's now live, and I'm so inspired I cannot wait for my scapes to appear.
    You can see the round up here: or Pin it for later:


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