Garlic Scapes Pesto


This is one of my all-time favourite pesto recipes! Thanks to my friend Christine Stevenson and her husband, Romeyn  from Gaelic Garlic (Peterborough Ontario farmers market) !
  Years ago, she introduced me to these magical, somewhat lesser known ‘scapes’ ~ the slender green stems of the garlic plant, complete with the unopened flower buds. My family and I have been ‘hooked’ every since! Garlic Scapes are a favourite food in the late Spring, here, but I want to share today as it may indeed be ‘the season’ where you are!

Garlic, is one of the oldest known cultivated plants. It’s a member of the lily family, which includes onions, chives, shallots and leeks. Garlic, is one of my very favourite herbal medicines in the herbal apothecary. To learn more about healing garlic’s qualities, go HERE. 

Garlic Scapes impart a mild garlic flavour and can be enjoyed cooked or raw. Chop them into a salad or use in recipes calling for green onions or scallions.  They are delicious when sauteed with mushrooms, celery, peppers or your favourite veggies in a quick stir-fry and then pair extremely well atop whole grain or rice pasta or atop a dish of Spelt or Quinoa or other whole grain. I don’t tend to make a lot of soup in early summer but these tasty greens can also impart a kick to home-made vegetable broth or a light soup.
My FAVOURITE way to prepare the garlic scape remains:

Garlic Scape Pesto

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or Romano)
3 Tbsp. fresh lime or lemon juice
1/4 lb. scapes (110g)
1/2 cup olive oil

Puree scapes and olive oil in a food processor until smooth.
Stir in Parmesan and lime or lemon juice and add seasoning to taste.^


Garlic Scapes

^ I didn’t add either salt or pepper to this batch and  it’s YUM!  
   There’s salt in the cheese, don’t forget!

Serve on bread, crackers or pasta – or as a dip for raw or grilled veggies. Add to home-made mayo for a kicked up ‘aoili’.

I always make extra ~ and freeze it as below, in ice cube trays. Overnight in the freezer and then pop them into labelled freezer bags for easy access and a delicious + nutritious garlicky “pop” to  so many meals. They thaw easily and can be a super quick pasta sauce…..or tossed with BBQ veggies or …. stirred into your favourite grain dish. Limitless possibilities!Garlic Scapes

Sometimes when I make this pesto, I use Romano cheese, as that’s what I had on hand. When possible I  purchase 2 lbs (!!) of Garlic Scapes. With the 2nd pound, I ‘whirled’ them up in the food processor and added fresh lime juice, but left the cheese out. I used unsalted sunflower seeds instead and will label as such. Sometimes I leave out the cheese when planning to freeze a pesto, and add it later if wanted.
So… How do YOU use Garlic scapes? Or is this NEW for you?
It’s a short ‘season’.  Check em’ out. They are worth the ‘hunt’!
Green good wishes,   Carol 

 Garlic Scapes


  • Hello,
    I am so intrigued by this recipe, thank you for posting! We get garlic scapes from our CSA each year, and it’s something I really look forward to each time since it seems to sit better in my stomach than regular garlic. I am especially interested in your use of sunflower seeds in place of the cheese. Can you please elaborate on how many tablespoons or cups of sunflower seeds you can use in place of the cheese? Our family is dairy free at the moment, we just can’t get it to work well for us, so I’d love to know the ratios of the sunflower seed version if you don’t mind sharing. Thanks!!

    • Truthfully Allie, I don’t measure. It depends on the quantity of scapes. I put them into the food processor and add some seeds until I get the consistency I like. Try that. You’ll see. It’s a process but everyone likes their own ‘smooth’ or thick or thin.. consistency.
      Let me know if this doesn’t work for you and I will measure .. next time!

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