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Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe

Though it’s probably a little too late for most of you to find garlic scapes locally, I still wanted to share how we prepared ours because it was absolutely delicious!

For those of you that aren’t familiar with garlic scapes, they’re the curling tops of garlic plants. Aren’t they pretty?

They’re found in abundance at farmers markets in late spring. As they are only available for a short time, consider picking up some extra to freeze to enjoy throughout the summer.

A word of caution is necessary though — garlic scapes are extremely potent. Just something to keep in mind if you’ve got a social engagement on the agenda for the evening!

We did find that the garlic scape pesto mellows a little after sitting, so if you find it a little overpowering at first, just refrigerate it and taste it again once it’s had a chance to sit for a few days.

This recipe is based on the one shared in the weekly newsletter that Wayward Seed Farm provides with our CSA share. I added some walnuts to the mix for an additional layer of flavor.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic Scape Pesto

Yield: 1.5 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes


  • 1 cup garlic scapes, buds removed and chopped
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate covered for up to two weeks. The flavor will mellow some as it sits.

How much did you LOVE this recipe?

Please leave a comment below or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #unsophisticook!

We used this pesto on grilled chicken and mixed into a simple pasta salad made with whole wheat penne and grape tomatoes. I think it would be delicious on a grilled pizza as well.

If pesto isn’t your thing, we chopped up the leftover scapes, tossed them with some colorful peppers, olive oil, salt and pepper and then grilled the mixture in a grill basket. They were divine! I found that they were very sweet and mellow when prepared this way.

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Sunday 2nd of June 2013

I just made a small batch from the few garlic bulbs that I grew in the Fall. Yummy right out of the blender!!


Saturday 30th of June 2012

Thanks for the recipe, we've gotten tons of scapes from our CSA and although we were putting them in stir fry dishes and salads they were piling up faster than I could use them. Made this recipe and used it to saute chicken (with extra on top) and then made grilled pesto pizzas -- both were delicious!

Newsong Marketer

Monday 25th of June 2012

So what do garlic scapes go for in your area? They go by the scape in northern NY at 12 for $2.00. What say you out there in the rest for the country?


Thursday 21st of June 2012

It didn't work for me. The scapes are stringy. I chopped them smaller before putting them in my food processor. I was really sad.


Tuesday 31st of July 2012

Scapes tend to be tougher, and therefore stringier, the later in the season they are harvested. They are always toughest towards the base (thick end, opposite the flower), so the scapes should be trimmed at the base, removing all scape that is not tender.

While no amount of cooking will remove the stringiness, I do steam my scapes before pureeing, to soften them. Five minutes does the trick. Steaming also mellows some of the bite, and adds a fullness to the garlic flavour that is somewhat akin to roasting bulbs.

I just canned two dozen jars today. I added about 1 cup of basil per batch, and it was delicious (and not too sharp). I'm looking forward to trying the results after a few weeks.

Tara @ Unsophisticook

Monday 25th of June 2012

Did you cut the buds off at the top? It sounds like that may be the issue. That section does tend to dry out and could be stringy if you just throw the whole scape in.

Andrea K.

Friday 12th of August 2011

THANK YOU! The hubs planted 1,000 garlic cloves this year. He had tons ("1,000" is literal; "tons" is figurative :) of scapes but I had no idea what to do with them. We'll definitely be trying this.