fast, simple, tasty – garlic scape pesto

June 25, 2013

garlic scapes4

Garlic is one of those rare crops that gives you two harvests. First the scapes, which at least in Ontario, are usually ready to harvested around summer solstice. The actual garlic bulbs are harvested a bit later, typically on the first weekend in August. The bulbs can then be left to dry in the sun for a few days before storing for the winter.


If you haven’t tried garlic scapes, they are like a sweeter, milder version of garlic. They make a particularly good pesto that can be used on pizza, pasta, bruschetta or any other way you might choose to use pesto. This version is dairy-free, vegan, and gluten-free. It also freezes well.

Scapes can also be pickled or served as a green vegetable – lightly grilled and tossed with butter and salt and pepper.

If you don’t grow you own garlic, you can usually purchase scapes at most farmers markets when they are in season. The season is fairly short – so don’t dilly dally too long or you’ll miss out. If you’re growing garlic – the general rule of thumb is that once you get a true curl in the garlic scape – they are ready to be harvested. Don’t let them get old and tough – the scapes won’t be useful and not harvesting the scapes means your garlic bulb won’t be as big. 

Select scapes which are curly. Wash them thoroughly and use only the tender parts of the stem – discarding the tough bits and the white flower bud.

Garlic scapes are rather beautiful in a vase with a little water. And they also keep longer once harvested this way too.


Garlic Scape Pesto

(this version is an adaptation of the recipe in A Taste of Wintergreen)

16-20 garlic scapes
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup walnut pieces
¼ tsp salt
Parmesan cheese as desired. I make mine without the cheese because I think it freezes better and that way it’s also vegan and dairy-free.

Wash the scapes and chop into approximately 1 inch pieces. Process all the ingredients together in the food processor until desired consistency is reached. Bottle and use within a week or freeze.


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  • Reply tinywhitecottage June 25, 2013 at 12:23 am

    Wonderful post! I do enjoy garlic scapes. Next time I buy them I will make pesto with them. 🙂

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen June 25, 2013 at 8:04 am

      The pesto is so good tossed through a bowl of pasta with some sun-dried tomatoes, olives and grated cheese – parmesan, pecorino, or something robust. And a nice glass of wine. 😉

  • Reply gotasté June 25, 2013 at 4:27 am

    Lindy, thank you for sharing this lovely post. The Garlic scapes are beautiful! This is another ingredient that I’ve very much heard of but never seen before and I don’t suppose I can get it here. Let alone fresh garlic. But I’ve learn so much! Great to know it can be make into pesto too! 🙂

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen June 25, 2013 at 7:58 am

      Thanks Danny! Scapes are rather beautiful aesthetically, it’s true. Garlic might be an interesting thing for you to try growing. You stick a clove in soil (in a plant pot should work), put in the sun and water and wait…

      • Reply gotasté June 27, 2013 at 11:21 am

        Doesn’t sound complicated at all. I shall try. Hope it works over here. Thanks Lindy 🙂

  • Reply Eliza B June 25, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Scapes have finished their season in Rhode Island sadly… But for next year I shall keep this bookmarked!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen June 25, 2013 at 8:55 pm

      You’re ahead of us by a week or two I bet. Been a long, rainy spring here but it is luscious and green and we’ve been so fortunate to escape the terrible flooding elsewhere on the continent.

  • Reply johnnysenough hepburn June 25, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Never knew that about garlic scapes. And I used to know someone that grew garlic. Possibly then it wasn’t a Brit thing to do. Things change, thankfully.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen June 25, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      I don’t think it was a very Canadian thing to do either until fairly recently. You’re so right – things do change!

  • Reply apuginthekitchen June 25, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Really nice way to use scapes, pesto is so versatile. Love it!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 2, 2013 at 8:30 am

      Thanks Suzanne – I am only seeing this now. The scapes are all gone for another season – but they were SO good.

  • Reply Tonette Joyce July 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I have been so tied-up, I almost missed a lot from you,Lindy! I have never tried garlic scapes…I had bad luck trying to grow garlic and gave up on it after that one try.You have me intrigued!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      Always so happy to see you Tonette and missed you in your absence but fully understand the busy-ness of life!

    I'd love to hear from you...

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