pesto: garlic scape

August 31, 2011 at 10:17 am Leave a comment

pesto part 3: garlic scape pesto

Third in our line-up of our pesto making frenzy is the garlic scape pesto.  This is the top part of the garlic that is usually thrown away.  I have never seen it at a grocery store, but every now and then, it pop up at a farmer’s market.  It has a mild garlic flavor and is inexpensive.  I have to admit though, I love it less for it’s flavor (I prefer the bold garlic flavor of the clove) and more for its visual appeal.  I just love how it looks, how it curves and how it is so simple in its design.

The garlic scape recipe is simple, you just replace your garlic cloves with the garlic scapes.  3 scapes = 1 clove.  You use the entire scape.

garlic scape pesto


1/2 cup toasted walnuts
6-9 garlic scapes (depends on how garlicy you like it!) cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cups of tightly packed basil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (you can also use pecorino romano, or a blend of the two)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (we don’t use salt, we feel there is enough of it in the cheese)
3/4 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)


In a dry pan, roast whole walnuts on medium heat on the stove top for a few minutes to release the oils in the nuts.  It provides a bolder flavor.  Toss them often to prevent burning and take off the stove and put onto a paper towel to cool as soon as you smell the aroma of the walnut oil.

Once cooled, add the walnuts to the food processor with your garlic scapes.  Process until it resembles a paste.  You have to pulse more than usual with the garlic scapes because they are somewhat fibrous.  Before you move onto the next step, make sure they are grounded down well into a paste.  Now add your basil and mix until it forms a paste.  Add your cheese and pepper and mix slightly.  Give a taste and make adjustments as needed.

Now drizzle in your EVOO slowly until it resembles a more uniform paste.  You can always add more EVOO if needed.  Give a taste, adjust if needed, and that is it!

You can definitely double this recipe if you are so inclined.

yield: 10-12 oz. per batch

shelf life: 3 weeks in the frig, 1 year frozen

worth the pick?

pick chick says: I have to admit, I love these more as a decorative “flower” arrangement on my table than in my pesto.  Don’t get me wrong, the pesto is good, light and has more texture to it, however, I miss the bold garlic flavor and just love how these look before they are chopped up into a paste!  Of all of of the pestos, this one is my least favorite.

pick dude says: I like this pesto but it does not have as full a flavor as the traditional basil pesto. It’s lighter in mouth-feel as well. If you don’t like the full flavor of a traditional pesto, this version may be right up your alley. I picked this as my least favorite of all of the pestos, but not because it wasn’t very good but due to my pickiness and obsession with pesto.


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