Garlic Scape and Fresh Herb Pesto


07 Jul Garlic Scape and Fresh Herb Pesto


Yesterday I issued a plea for ideas of what to do with garlic scapes. The answers rolled in. I heard from people via Twitter, Facebook, email and the comments section. Thank you all. I was thrilled with your response.

Of course, with so many great solutions to choose from, I left my decision until late in the day. By then, someone-who-shall-remain-nameless had taken the car and raced off to play ball, leaving me with only the ingredients on hand. Not his fault really, but I need someone to blame for my lack of planning, and we don’t call him Handy Andy for nothing.

Here are some of the scape suggestions. I wanted to try each and every one of them, so have included a reason why I didn’t give it a go this time round:

  • Katarina loves her scapes sauted with zucchini. I was out of zucchini.
  • Monica Bhide twittered a quick recipe for spiced garlic butter. I was tempted but wanted something for dinner.
  • BMK and Kim U suggested grinding them — roasted or not — into hummus. I was out of chick peas.
  • Dana McCauley likes to slice them up and stir fry them with chicken and seafood. I was out of shrimp, scallops and halibut.
  • Erik sent a tweet saying I should toss sauted scapes on pasta with a cream sauce. I’m saving my cream quota for frozen desserts like raspberry ice cream.
  • Rene says scapes are delicious with beef or pork. I had only frozen chicken in the freezer and no time.
  • Divawrites wins most creative solution for her advice. Wave them about to ward off tiny vampires. Dang! Fresh out of small supernatural creatures. Again.

With few groceries on hand and only 8 scapes, Marta’s recommendation made a lot of sense. She said:

Let it [the scape] truly be the star of the pesto, maybe throw in a tiny bit of basil, really good olive oil and, well, I wouldn’t even bother with the nuts. Just let the scape shine!

So I raided the fridge and scavenged in the garden, grabbing all the herbs I could — and a few flowers. I then whipped up some pesto while the pasta cooked.


Here’s what I learned:

  1. If you use too much of the stem, scapes are not as mild as people say. One recipe for garlic scape vichysoisse called for 2 cups of scapes OR 1/4 cup garlic. I would say the scapes were 1/2 the strength of garlic, not 1/8th. Don’t use the stem.
  2. If you use too much of the stem, you’ll get woody, fibers in your pesto and will spend the next two hours extracting what looks like sisel from between your teeth. Don’t use the stem.
  3. I need to grow more garlic.

For those who have scapes at hand, here’s my “recipe”. I didn’t really measure, just eyeballed the pesto as I went along. I used cold pressed canola oil, which is mild but flavourful. Olive oil or even a nut oil would be fine. I also used a mix of herbs. I think lemon basil would be idea but a combination of lemon balm and basil is also lovely.

No flowers? No problem, it tastes just as good without them.


Garlic Scape and Fresh Herb Pesto
Printable Recipe


  • 1 part scapes
  • 1 part fresh herbs — lemon thyme, basil, cilantro, lemon balm
  • oil — cold pressed canola, olive oil or other
  • 1/2 part Parmesan
  • lemon juice to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper


  1. Put scapes and herbs in a blender or food processor and pulse a few times.
  2. Slowly add a few drops of oil, blending until the herbs and scapes become smooth. (Smooth will never happen if you don’t cut off the woody stems. Sigh…)
  3. Add Parmesan and blend again.
  4. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Blend and taste, adding more lemon, Parmesan, salt or pepper as needed.
  5. Toss on fresh hot pasta.

Related Post

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 13:32h, 07 July Reply

    Mmm, that sounds (and looks) so good to me! I quite like the other suggestions as well, particularly the hummus. Thanks for such a delicious bunch of suggestions in one post!

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 13:32h, 07 July Reply

    Mmm, that sounds (and looks) so good to me! I quite like the other suggestions as well, particularly the hummus. Thanks for such a delicious bunch of suggestions in one post!

  • Marta
    Posted at 17:12h, 08 July Reply

    Oh this looks yummy!
    Hahaah lesson learnt: don't use the stem :)
    I feel flattered that you chose my suggestion, I just love pesto!!

  • Ruth Daniels
    Posted at 09:41h, 09 July Reply

    Looks fantastic. I still haven't found any garlic scapes here in Halifax.

    And you should really share this with Presto Pasta Nights.

  • Maggie D.
    Posted at 09:46h, 10 July Reply

    Last year I pickled garlic scapes and they were delicious. This year I put up twice as many scapes in picles and can't wait till they are ready. It was really easy once I figured out how to do it. I did some with dill seeds and some with regular old pickling spice. If you lke garlic and like pickles, they are woth the effort.

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 12:47h, 10 July Reply

    Diva, the hummus does sound good. I just wish I had more scapes to play with.

    Marta, your simple suggestion was great. I tend to put too many things into a dish and they really did deserve to shine.

    Ruth, never heard of Presto Pasta nights. Thanks for the heads up. I'll drop by and see what it's all about.

    Maggie, I only made pickles once and that was years ago. I'll keep this in mind for next year when I have more scapes. (Note to self: Plant garlic in the fall!!)

  • Kevin
    Posted at 10:53h, 12 July Reply

    That garlic scape pesto looks great! I just tried garlic scapes for the first time this year and I really enjoyed them.

  • ashmita
    Posted at 06:27h, 16 July Reply

    yummy article. Even tried this last time it was really good. Garlic with anything is too tasty. Garlic is considered one of the oldest medicines in the world and is used in making remedies for various ailments and physiological disorders. Garlic is one of the most effective antimicrobial herbs, as it has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anthelmintic and antiseptic properties.Consuming large amounts of garlic can cause heartburn, especially during pregnancy. If left in contact with skin of mucous membranes, fresh garlic can also cause local irritation and ulceration.


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