Garlic Scape Pesto

June 12, 2013

If you're like us, you look to the seasons for what to cook. Get to the market, and we'll show you what to do with your haul.

Today: Garlic scapes want to be made into pesto. Let them. 

How to Make Garlic Scape Pesto

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Before I learned how to drive, I learned how to describe garlic scapes. Anytime I was asked by a table in the restaurant where I worked, I answered, diligent and practiced: scapes are the tendril-like stalks that grow out of garlic. Then I'd say the soup that they were in was fantastic, and that if I had to choose, I'd drink the Viognier alongside. I was sixteen. 

I didn't learn to cook with scapes until much later, and it wasn't until I did that I fully understood their charm. They're whimsical, their flavor perky but reined-in, like an eccentric but polite new friend. They became what I added to a dish when I wanted garlic but didn't want to commit to its assertive bite. 

I've never put them in a soup of my own -- something about closing a chapter -- but pesto is beginning to make a regular appearance at dinner. Toss it with pasta, spread it on toast; thin it with more olive oil and it'll become a happy alternative to whatever you've been dressing your salads with. 

Garlic scapes know not to overstay their welcome; they're harvested early so that their fellow bulbs can flourish. This means you'll have to find them soon, and cook them now.  

How to Make Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic Scape Pesto 

1 cup garlic scapes, thinly sliced crosswise 
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan 
Salt and pepper, to taste 

Get the full recipe (and save it and print it) here. 

Photos by Eric Moran

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • LauriL
  • ChefJune
  • Daria Faulkner
    Daria Faulkner
  • Kitty Leering
    Kitty Leering
  • Brette Warshaw
    Brette Warshaw
Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


LauriL June 24, 2013
OH No! Did I miss Scape season?
Kenzi W. June 24, 2013
You should still be able to find them!
ChefJune June 12, 2013
This is a truly inspired idea. Looking forward to buying some scapes this weekend! And in return, I'll suggest to you to make this soup using the scapes. Turns the soup from winter to summer!
Kenzi W. June 12, 2013
Love this! Thanks for the recipe.
Daria F. June 12, 2013
just made it last Sat. tastes great and worked just fine to make these nori rolls
Kitty L. June 12, 2013
What might be a nice addition to this recipe is, radish leafs. You know when you bought radishes, you always through away the nice green leafs? Don't. Throw them in the blender, with the rest of the ingredients, to make a spicy pesto. And if you want to make it a lighter in calories: replace the oil with ricotta cheese.....
Marian B. June 12, 2013
This is actually amazing stirred into ricotta!
Brette W. June 12, 2013
This was soooo good as a salad dressing. Can't make to make it at home and use it on everything!
Kenzi W. June 12, 2013
Two words: avocado bowls. (A la Dash and Bella.)