Garlic Scape Pesto

IMG_5105.JPGLast summer, my friend Meg introduced me to the goodness that is garlic scape pesto. 

Our entire group of friends became obsessed with this garlicky spread; it is delicious alone, used as a dip for vegetables, spread on toasted bread or topped on pipping hot pasta!

You can imagine my thrill when these wisps of green beauties arrived in my CSA basket last week. 

Garlic Scape PestoSince, I knew I would be making a double batch, I headed out to the farmers market to pick up more to supplement what I already had in hand.

You are unlikely to find garlic scapes at your regular grocery store, since they are a specialty product, so go out and support your local farmers market.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic Scapes are the flowering stalks of hardneck garlic pants. They are commonly found in late spring to early summer. They have a mild garlic flavor and is a wonderful base for pesto. If you want to tone down the garlic flavor, feel free to toss in a few basil leaves to the mix. While I used walnuts, a variety a nuts would work well here. Substitute what you have readily available at home. This is also a double batch, it makes a lot. While it will keep for a while, feel free to half everything.

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  • 20 garlic scapes, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup toasted walnuts
  • 2/3 cup parmigiana cheese
  • 3/4- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the garlic scapes, walnuts, and cheese in the bowl of your food processor.
  2. Process until combined and the scapes look like a paste.
  3. With the processor running. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil from the top, starting with 3/4 of a cup. Add the additional 1/4 cup if the pesto seems dry or you want a wetter consistency.
  4. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Garlic Scape Pesto

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26 thoughts on “Garlic Scape Pesto

  1. Suzi

    Oh this sounds fantastic. I so wish that I could find some garlic scapes. I will keep looking though. I bet this tastes just wonderful.

  2. Renee

    My local farmers market opens for the summer this week. I will be on the lookout for the garlic scapes. Recipe sounds really interesting and a good alternative to regular pesto (which I love).

    1. Susan

      I would love to know what you think of the recipe if you can find some garlic scapes this week. I had some of it on tomatoes the other day and the pairing was perfect.

  3. Stefania

    Just a tip to keep any sort of pesto or paste “fresh”, when you put it in jars, make sure no air bubbles are present and cover completely with a layer of olive oil to avoid it getting spoiled. Otherwise, great recipe! Can’t wait to try it.

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  8. Becky J

    What are your recommendations for storing your pesto? I saw the comment about putting it in a jar and covering with olive oil – then store in a fruit cellar? Pantry? Refrigerator? Any luck with freezing? Please advise, thanks!

    1. Susan

      I’ve frozen regular basil pesto in the past in ice cube trays then transferred to freezer bags, and that has worked really well. For this one, I just stored in the jar. Truth be told, I just tossed some in my eggs this weekend and it was still good. The vibrant green color has faded, but the taste is still pretty fresh. I would only store in a cellar or pantry if I properly canned the pesto and had a good seal on it, and then in that case a layer of olive oil on top should be added. Hope this helps!

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  12. Audree

    I harvest loads of scapes from my garlic plants each year. I make a lot of pesto & freeze it using zipper freezer bags. Fill the bag, zip it almost closed, remove as much air as possible, seal bag. Then flatten the bag and place it on a flat spot in the freezer. Then when I want a bit I can just break of a chunk & defrost. Don’t defrost in the microwave, it melts the cheese & gets hard (unless you’re more attentive than I am.)
    If I run out of cheese or oil or nuts I freeze the chopped scapes & use them in other things.
    At a family reunion (captive audience) I experimented by adding the pesto to mayonaise. Goes great with burgers & hotdogs & one pregnant cousin spent the afternoon next to the dish dipping potato chips.

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  14. Navymum

    Just picked the scapes from my garlic and made this pesto. Delicious!!! You have a great website and I will be back next year to make those ramp and goat cheese sandwiches. Thank you.

  15. ray

    Yes it’s great I raise garlic and love the scales.
    Try some with a few crackers! Be sure not to put the crackers away though.
    A package of townhouse won,t last long!!!!

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