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Garlic Scape Pesto

Jul 26, 2009
Recipe Type:

You don't have to wait for your basil or your garlic to make pesto with this recipe. For the uninitiated, garlic scapes are the elegant flowers that emerge from hardneck garlic varieties. Scapes are usually removed as a way of sending more of the plant's vital energy into bulb formation, or so the conventional thinking goes. We also add arugula to this when the planets align. Adding arugula softens the garlic flavor and turns the pesto a darker green which, unlike basil pesto, doesn't oxidize.


  • 1 cup of garlic scapes, top flowery part removed, cut into  1/4 -inch slices
  • 1/3 cup of walnuts
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups of chopped arugula, if using


Place scapes and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated. With a rubber spatula, scoop pesto out of bowl and into a mixing bowl. Add parmigiano to taste; add salt and pepper. Makes about 6 ounces of pesto. Keeps for up to one week in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. For 1/2 pound short pasta such as penne, add about 2 tablespoons of pesto to cooked pasta and stir until pasta is well coated.

....and the top flowery bit can be preserved, like the French do with garlic bulbs, in a sweet spice pickle mix. To use them later, simply pull one out of the jar by the short stem you leave attached to the intact flower-head and eat it. Oh lalalala! Bon appetit!

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