Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto

posted in: Herbs, Recipes | 1

by Jennifer Banks-Doll

I harvested a ton of herbs from the garden the other day, and garlic scapes!  I find scapes to be one of the most fascinating shapes in my garden these days, like a swarm of snakes or angry geese hiding amongst the garlic leaves.

Scapes are the garlic flower stem.  They curl up once or twice around this time of year.  In another week or two they will straighten out and become woody.  Then it’s time to harvest your garlic!  But if you snip them off now they are still juicy and tender, and maybe even spicy, depending on what type of garlic you have.  When you snip them it is recommended that you leave one of each variety intact so that you can still use it as a sign that your garlic is ready.  But if not, don’t worry.  Another easy sign is that the bottom sets of leaves are dry and brown.

Scapes can be eaten raw and are easier to palate then garlic cloves.  I sliced off thin rounds as I chopped them for this recipe just to taste the different kinds and make sure they were not woody.  It was a fiery and delicious experience!

You can also blend them into salad dressing or hummus, stirfry or grill them, or add them to your eggs in the morning.  You can even pickle them to enjoy later.  But my favourite thing to do with them is make pesto!

Pesto on crackers is my favourite late morning snack when I’m not ready to pause enough to make lunch but too hungry to get much more done.  It’s filling and fresh and healthy!  I did make a ton of nettle pesto earlier this spring, but it’s almost done.  Time to try something new, garlic scape pesto!  Here is the recipe I used this week, adapted from A Dish of Daily Life.  It is great on pasta too, and the perfect seasonal addition to a cheese tray at your next dinner or potluck.  Enjoy!

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto


  • 2 cups fresh basil, packed
  • 1 cup garlic scapes, blossom end removed, chopped
  • 1 cup roasted almonds (or other nuts like walnuts or pine nuts)
  • 1 cup olive oil, as fresh as possible
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Chop up scapes in a food processor.

Add basil and almonds and process until fully chopped.

Add oil and lemon juice in a steady stream until smooth.

Add cheese or yeast.

Add salt and pepper to taste.


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