Garlic Scape Pesto

In late spring, a magical thing happens.

In the winter, farmers plant garlic. Usually, they plant rows of cloves, and in the spring, the scapes, or green leaves of the garlic, poke up out of the ground and begin growing. To make the garlic focus more of its energy on the actual bulb of garlic, the part that they can harvest and sell more readily, farmers cut off the scapes in late spring, before they bloom.

And those scapes are a seasonal and tasty, tasty treat. You can get them at Farmer’s Markets this time of the year, and they aren’t expensive–I think I paid $3 a bunch.

I’d describe them as a garlic chive on steroids. The fresh green leaves have a milder garlic flavor that a raw clove of garlic, making them perfect for making the yummiest garlic scape pesto you ever tasted.

Now, I’m pretty loose about many of my recipes, and you’ll have to forgive me, this one is looser than most. It is very much “to taste,” so feel free to experiment with it on your own.

Garlic Scape Pesto


  • Pine Nuts, about 1/2 cup
  • Two bunches of garlic scapes, washed and the ends cut off
  • Two bunches of basil, leaves stripped, washed and dried
  • Good quality olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper


Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over low-medium heat.Once the pine nuts have cooled a little, add everything to the food processor. You could also use a blender.

Give that a good whizz. (yes, that’s a technical term!)

Now start adding in the olive oil. Drizzle it in until the pesto is loose and gets the consistency you desire.

Et voila!

Many people like to include cheese (a hard, ripened cheese, like Parmesan or Romano or Padano) in their pesto, but I like to make big batches and freeze it, so I don’t. If I want cheese, I just add it during cooking. I like to freeze my garlic scape pesto in ice cube containers, then pop them out and store them in a zip top bag in the freezer.

Use your pesto on fish, meat, or pasta, or you can add it to sour cream or mayonnaise to make a flavored dip or salad dressing for a pasta salad.

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