A little known, but amazingly delicious, vegetable making its appearance in farmers markets right now is Garlic Scapes. This curly and whimsical, long and skinny green is the stem of a garlic plant. By cutting it off the plant before it flowers, it helps the garlic bulb to become fuller – and as a bonus of this harvest we get an early spring vegetable rich in garlic flavor. Garlic scapes are spicy and strong when raw and mild and smooth when cooked. This raw Garlic Scape pesto is the perfect thing to make when garlic scapes are plentiful.
Garlic scape pesto is intensely, sharply garlic flavored when left raw and used as a spread or dip, and becomes a robust and gentle garlic flavor when cooked into sauces or added to other cooked dishes. This recipe is vegetarian, and can be made vegan with the use of nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan cheese.
I make up 4 or 5 batches of this garlic scape pesto and put it into small freezer-safe containers to use throughout the year. There’s something wonderful about the fresh early-summer taste of garlic scape pesto in the late fall and through the winter.
This garlic scape pesto is quite thick. I like to make pesto quite thick and then thin it out with additional oil to use as a dip, or mix full strength into sauces and use less than what the recipe calls for.
Garlic Scape Pesto
Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
1/4 cup almonds
3-4 cups roughly chopped garlic scapes
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 – 3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
- Put the almonds into the bowl of a food processor and blend for 15-30 seconds, until it resembles fine bread crumbs.
- Add the garlic scapes, lemon juice and salt. Blend, scraping down the sides regularly, until the garlic scapes are finely minced.
- With the food processor running, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the garlic scapes until it reaches a thick sauce-like consistency.
- Continue the food processor running and sprinkle in the parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (omit this step if you are planning on freezing the pesto and add in once you’ve thawed the garlic scape pesto for use).
- Use the garlic scape pesto immediately, refrigerate in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks, or freeze for future use.
Garlic scape pesto is one of my favorite uses for garlic scapes. I also love them steamed and tossed in a small amount of butter and added to stir-fries for an extra garlicky boost. How do you like to use garlic scapes?