Garlic Scape Pesto is thrown together in no time flat. With garlic scapes from the garden and a few other ingredients, you’ll have enough pesto to get you through the entire summer season. Top on sandwiches, salads, breads, and pastas.
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Pesto is a staple in the summer months when basil and garlic are freshly harvested and aplenty. This year, I decided to harvest the garlic scapes and use them for a pesto in place of the bulb.
The scapes get harvested a few weeks before the bulbs in an effort to help the plant put all its energy into growing and developing the bulb more. And since I don’t like waste, I decided we’d chop these up to use in a pesto sauce that could be used for sandwiches, cold or hot pasta dishes, breads, and even salads.
This pesto is easy to freeze which is a good thing, being that we have so much of it made now. This recipe will make about 3 pint-sized jars in total. So definitely be ready to give some away, eat it all quickly, or freeze it for later.
Now, let’s get into what you’re really here for anyway: the garlic scape pesto recipe.
Garlic Scape Pesto
What is pesto?
Pesto is an herby “sauce” with an olive oil base. Typically, fresh basil, garlic cloves, hard cheese, nuts, and maybe a little lemon juice are blended to create a full-bodied but light oil-based sauce to drizzle or toss with a dish. There are lots of variations on traditional pesto though. Sun-dried tomatoes can be added, different herbs can be used, you can experiment with different cheeses. The sky’s the limit.
Which part of the garlic is the scape?
The scape is the flowering middle portion of the garlic that rears its head well before the garlic bulb is ready. The cloves that grow inside the bulb and the roots are deeply covered by dirt, but this portion likes to grow tall and begins to curl when it’s ready to be harvested and eaten. You can chop it up and toss it into a dish fresh or use it to make pesto.
Tools You’ll Need | garlic scape pesto
Measuring cups and spoons
Food processor or blender (I use this KitchenAid blender HERE and love it)
Pint size jars for storage
Knife and cutting board, optional
Citrus juicer, optional
Ingredients | garlic scape pesto
Garlic scapes – I use fresh or frozen garlic scapes to give a pungent garlicky flavor to this herb and oil sauce. Roughly chop before throwing into a blender.
Basil – Use fresh Italian basil to add flavor that will complement any dish.
Olive oil – I prefer extra virgin olive oil in recipes like this because of its high quality.
Parmesan cheese – Parmesan cheese or other hard cheeses can be added for a slightly nutty flavor and to add texture.
Nuts – Pine nuts or sunflower seeds add texture, interest, and salty flavor to this herb sauce.
Salt – Salt is optional. Depending on if your seeds/nuts are salted, a little more may be needed.
Lemon juice – Lemon juice helps balance out the flavors and add some freshness and acidity to the pesto.
How to Make Garlic Scape Pesto
Start by adding all the ingredients into a food processor/blender.
Blend until all the chunks broken up. Stop every so often to scrape down the sides and add more olive oil or water as needed to thin it out.
Blend until you have the desired consistency: puree that isn’t too thick or pasty.
Pour into pint-sized glass jars.
Store for up to 5 days in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Tips for Success | garlic scape pesto
If you’ve previously frozen your scapes without chopping them, you’ll need to roughly chop them to fit into the blender/food processor first. This should only take a minute.
To freeze, pour the pesto into small jars with a one inch clearance at the top. Add lid and place in freezer until use. Alternatively, you can freeze it in ice cube trays for small amounts to use sparingly. Thaw in the fridge for several hours or overnight before use.
More Quick, Easy Recipes
Garlic Scape Pesto
- measuring cups and spoons
- food processor or blender
- pint-size jars for storage
- knife and cutting board optional
- citrus juicer optional
- 1 large bunch garlic scapes
- 4-5 cups fresh Italian Basil
- 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, walnuts, or sunflower seeds
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt optional
- Start by adding all the ingredients into a food processor/blender.
- Begin blending until you get chunks broken up. Stop every so often to scrape down the sides and add more olive oil or water as needed to thin it out.
- Blend until you have the desired consistency: puree that isn’t too thick or pasty.
- Pour into pint-sized glass jars.
- Store for up to 5 days in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer.