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  • Writer's pictureby Arielle Illia

Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe

If you've grown your own garlic you most likely have been rewarded with copious amounts of garlic cloves during mid to late summer but what if I told you there is another reason to grow garlic besides the cloves themselves. Yes it's true, you can harvest garlic scapes as well, which offer a mild garlic flavor and can be added to an array of recipes. Many of us are accustom to harvesting only one portion of the plant that we are growing, typically because this is all we are exposed to at the grocery store, when many different parts of the plant can in fact be utilized.

Elephant garlic scape
Elephant Garlic Scape

A scape is a developing flower bud that the garlic plant produces a few weeks prior to harvesting time and while you can let them go until a blossom unveils, it is common practice to remove them (just above the highest leaf on the garlic plant) in order to redirect the plant's energy to the development of the bulb. But here's the catch, not all garlic varieties will produce scapes. There are two varieties of garlic, softneck and hardneck, only hardneck varieties form stalks or stems and therefore, scapes. Softneck garlic not only lends itself to longer storage but allows you to braid the leaves due to the lack of a rigid stalk in the center of the bulb.

Here in the PNW we have had great success with hardneck varieties due to their hardiness, we also greatly enjoy the spicy garlic flavor in comparison to softneck garlic. Every year we grow both elephant garlic (not true garlic, although it still forms a scape) and hardneck garlic varieties. For this recipe we use a mixture of the two for a delicious garlicky flavor.


For the recipe:


  • 3 cups chopped scapes

  • 2 cups olive oil

  • 1/2 cup walnuts

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tsp pepper

  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

  • juice from 1-2 lemons


1. Combine all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor and blend

pesto ingredients

You may have to add more olive oil depending on what consistency you'd like.

making pesto

That's it!

We freeze the garlic scape pesto in pint sized mason jars, the pesto will last 6 months or longer stored in this manner.

Storing pesto

Add to any dish to deliver a pesto garlic punch to your taste buds.

Serving suggestions:

Lovely addition to garlic bread.

Spread on your favorite sandwich in place of a condiment.

Swap with marinara sauce for your next pizza.



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