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Flavorful Garlic Pesto from Garlic Scapes

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I vividly remember the day I first tasted garlic pesto made from garlic scapes. It was a warm summer evening, and I was invited to a friend's garden party. As we gathered around a table filled with mouthwatering dishes, a vibrant green pesto caught my eye. Curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to give it a try.

With the first bite, I was immediately transported to a world of flavors. The garlic scapes added a refreshing twist to the traditional pesto, making it lighter and more aromatic. I couldn't resist asking for the recipe and soon found myself experimenting with different combinations and variations in my own kitchen.

Since that memorable evening, garlic scape pesto has become a staple in my culinary repertoire. I've used it to elevate simple pasta dishes, as a marinade for grilled vegetables, and even as a delightful dip for crusty bread. The versatility and depth of flavors that garlic scape pesto brings to each meal never cease to amaze me.

What is garlic pesto?

Garlic pesto is a mouthwatering sauce that brings together the distinct flavors of garlic, herbs, nuts, and cheese. Traditionally made using basil, pine nuts, garlic cloves, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil, this versatile sauce has gained popularity worldwide. However, there is a lesser-known variation of garlic pesto that deserves attention: garlic pesto made from garlic scapes.

What are Garlic Scapes?

Garlic scapes are the curly, green shoots that emerge from the tops of garlic plants. These tender stems are harvested before they flower, usually in late spring or early summer. Garlic scapes offer a milder garlic flavor compared to cloves, making them a perfect ingredient for pesto. They possess a subtle sweetness and a hint of fresh greenness, elevating the taste of any dish.

The History of Garlic Pesto

Garlic has a rich culinary history that spans centuries. It was used in ancient civilizations for its medicinal properties and later incorporated into various cuisines. Pesto, on the other hand, originated in Genoa, Italy, during the Roman era. Initially made using a mortar and pestle, pesto was traditionally a combination of garlic, pine nuts, basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil.

As garlic pesto gained popularity, chefs and home cooks began experimenting with different ingredients, leading to the discovery of using garlic scapes as a delicious alternative. The use of garlic scapes in pesto adds a unique twist to the traditional recipe, infusing it with a fresh and vibrant flavor.

Health Benefits of Garlic Pesto

Garlic, a key ingredient in both traditional and scape-based pesto, offers numerous health benefits. It contains compounds that have been shown to boost the immune system, reduce cholesterol levels, and lower blood pressure. Garlic is also rich in antioxidants and may have antibacterial and antifungal properties. When combined with other wholesome ingredients in pesto, it becomes a nutritious addition to any meal.

Simple and Flavorful Garlic Pesto Recipe

Creating your own garlic pesto from garlic scapes is a straightforward and rewarding process. Here's a simple recipe to get you started:
Course sauce


  • 2 cups basil leaves, packed tight
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup chopped garlic scapes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  • Trim the garlic scapes, removing the tough ends and any flower buds
  • Chop the scapes into small pieces
  • In a food processor or blender, combine the chopped scapes, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts
  • Gradually add the olive oil while blending until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Transfer the garlic scape pesto to a jar and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld together
  • Serve the pesto with pasta, spread it on toasted bread, or use it as a flavorful marinade
Keyword pesto, sauce
Flavorful Garlic Pesto from Garlic Scapes