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Garlic Scape Pesto

These are garlic scapes.

Garlic Scapes

When I first found them in our CSA in 2011, I called them “garlic scrapes”, and felt like a complete idiot when I finally realized I’d been using a misnomer for an entire year before someone corrected me.  It’s like when you get home after a night out and realize you’ve had a giant leaf of parsley in your teeth for who-knows-how-long.

(By the way, do you tell people when this happens?  Do you want people to tell you about the food in your teeth, or a wardrobe malfunction, or errant eyeliner? For the record, I do.  Tell me!  Even if I’m embarrassed at first, just act cool, ’cause I really do appreciate it in the long run).

Garlic scapes are the tops of garlic plants (the part we normally eat is the bulb).  They are kind of like a mix between green onion and garlic, except with an unmistakable garlic flavor.  You can use them in any way that you’d use garlic or green onion, but they really shine in a pesto.


If you are buying them in a public market, garlic scapes are more tender when smaller and less curly.  Little ones can be used more easily raw, but the bigger and more mature ones do best when cooked (even lightly).

Garlic Scape Pesto (makes about two pint jars of pesto)

  • 2 bunches garlic scapes
  • 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 C lightly toasted walnuts
  • 3/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 C water

Lightly toast the walnuts–I just put them dry into a small frying pan over medium heat, turning them frequently.  You could also put them on a baking sheet in an oven at 300 degrees.  Watch them carefully, and if they burn, toss ’em.  You just can’t recover from burned nuts (is there a joke here somewhere?).

Combine all the ingredients, and blend.  I used a Ninja blender, which worked great once I added just a little bit of water (in the ingredient list) to keep everything moving.  A food processor would be a better choice if you don’t have a blender with blades that go up past the bottom.

You can adjust the recipe to taste.


I kept some pesto in a mason jar to use for the week, but the rest I put into an ice cube tray.  I let them freeze into cubes, then place into doubled-up ziplock bags to keep in the freezer (double bagging them will help prevent freezer burn).


Warning!  I am sensitive to raw garlic (it burns the heck out of my mouth and my stomach), and as I was eating piles of raw pesto in the name of taste-testing, I definitely gave myself a small stomach ache.  However, eating it throughout the week over pasta (letting it cook in the pan with some pasta) gave me no problems whatsoever.  Just something to be aware of.


This pesto is nice and spicy from the garlic scapes, but tastes pretty mild once mixed into a pasta or vegetables (or used in minestrone soup).


Fritz and I are really enjoying this glorious three-day weekend we had, and I have to admit that digging my schedule out to start summer sessions tomorrow made me pretty sad.  Makes me jealous of all my coworkers that decided to take the summer off (maybe in a few years I can do that too?!).

Yesterday Fritz and I went wine tasting around Keuka Lake with my parents (hi Mom and Dad!), and we stopped at two awesome vineyards (and one less awesome that shall not be named).  We loved the renowned Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellar–also known as Dr. Franks–and we all got to try the Rkatsiteli for the first time (originally from the Republic of Georgia).  A pourer from Dr. Franks recommended that we also try Domaine Leseurre, which is a new vineyard started in 2011 by a super sweet couple from France (also, French accents: the best).  They had a series of mostly dry to semidry white wines that we all really enjoyed (my favorite was the 2012 Riesling Barrel Select Dry).  I would definitely go back to both of them, but my favorite was definitely Domaine Leseurre because of the friendly and educational service (and, of course, the accents).

Keuka Lake Vineyards

Also, cats:


Fritz and I are going on an easy camping trip with our friends Breanna and Zev next weekend, so we used the long weekend to dig out all of our old camping supplies and make sure we have everything we need.

 Bottle opener, check.  Corkscrew, check…cats? Check and check.

Bottle opener, check. Corkscrew, check…cats? Check and check.

Also, have you seen a cat smirk before?  ‘Cause Emerson totally is.

It's because I'm shedding 20 pounds of hair in your camping stuff.

It’s because I’m shedding 20 pounds of hair in your camping stuff.

Hope you had a nice holiday weekend (to my fellow Americans).

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  1. Hannah

    Love your garlic scape photos – nice design! Had a good time with you too – always fun to restock the “wine cellar” (aka, wine that I put in the cellar). XXMom

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      aka wine that I put in my liver?

  2. Emily

    Now I wish we got garlic scapes in our CSA!

  3. Teri

    Perfect timing… I just got garlic scrapes at our farmers market! Your cat babies are beautiful:)

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      you know your way right to my heart :)

  4. Michelle

    The ice cube tray idea is genius! Must try!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Makes pesto much easier to keep for a long time!

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