Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic scapes are the long, curly shoots that extend from the top of garlic bulbs and they’ve been popping up at the farmers market for the last couple of weeks. I was immediately intrigued by them, but hesitated to purchase some since I wasn’t quite sure how I would use them.

Then, earlier this week, my coworker Julie remarked that she had also seen the garlic scapes and couldn’t believe the price they were fetching, when she had them in her garden for free. I figured there was no risk to trying them and was happy to accept a bunch to sample.

You can use garlic scapes in many ways – in omelettes, stirfrys, dips and pizzas, but it’s quite clear from my online searching that the most popular way to enjoy them is in pesto.

I amalgamated several recipes I found online, picking and choosing the elements I liked best from each. Feel free to do the same and I’m sure you’ll get great results.

I felt somewhat snooty making this – pestos seem inexplicably high-brow to me. Especially pesto made with the elegant curls of garlic tops. Am I wrong?

Nevertheless, garlic scape pesto is wonderfully flavourful and very different from other pestos I’ve tried. This recipe had a slightly bitter aftertaste, so next time I’ll add a bit of maple syrup to sweeten things up.

I tossed it over gluten-free pasta, eating it warm for dinner and cold the next day with some chopped veggies. Both were equally delicious. Just a word of warning: it’s very garlicky. Though garlic scapes are supposedly mild, I had to brush my teeth several times to get rid of the aftertaste!

Garlic Scape Pesto
Prep time
Total time
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, grain-free, five ingredients or less
Recipe type: Dip
Serves: 4
  • 12 garlic scapes, chopped
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Throw all ingredients into a food processor or blender and whirl until smooth. Add more oil (or water) as needed, depending on your desired consistency. Enjoy!

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