Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto

Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
355 Calories
36g Fat
4g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 355
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 36g 47%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 11mg 4%
Sodium 359mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 2mg 10%
Calcium 122mg 9%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 100mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Garlic scapes are the long curly stem that grows from hard necked garlic. This type of garlic is the one most commonly grown in North America, but it comes as a surprise that very few people know of garlic scapes, much less have eaten them. These long, tender stems need to be chopped off so the garlic bulb can grow and be harvested. If not, the plant expends its energy trying to feed the stems and flowers, yielding small garlic bulbs. Thus, garlic is one of the few plants that need to be harvested twice, first for the scapes, then for the bulbs.

These surprisingly tender and flavorful stems will make a wonderful addition to your weekly shopping list, as they can be used in sauces, stir-fries, salads, soups, and stews. Their flavor is a mixture of the best of onions, garlic, and scallions, which makes them a three-in-one addition to your savory recipes.

Once you've tried scapes, they'll become your new favorite allium. Added to our basil pesto, the resulting sauce is a vibrant and herby ingredient that you can use to top pasta, potatoes, rice, salads, chicken, beef, pork, or slices of mozzarella di buffalla. Another great feature of this pesto is that it doesn't brown as fast as regular pesto, and freezes beautifully—spoon garlic scape pesto into ice cube trays—once the cubes are frozen, remove and transfer to a plastic freezer bag.

Ingredients

  • 12 large garlic scapes (bulb removed, cut into 1/2 inch pieces)

  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (divided)

  • 1 cup parmesan (grated)

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Add the garlic scapes, basil, and kosher salt to a food processor or blender.

    Add the garlic scapes, basil, and kosher salt to a food processor

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Pulse a couple of times to achieve a rough mixture.

    pulse the mixture in the food processor

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Slowly start adding 1/2 cup of the olive oil.

    add oil to the mixture in the food processor

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Stop processing and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

    scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. The texture of the final pesto is up to personal taste. If the sauce seems too thick for your preference add 2 tablespoons of olive oil at a time and check again for your ideal consistency.

    pesto mixture in a food processor

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Once a smooth paste has been achieved, add 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese and process until completely mixed in. Taste for seasonings.

    add Parmesan cheese and process until completely mixed in

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  8. Add the remaining cheese if you'd like a thicker and more savory paste, or leave as is if you're happy with the flavor and consistency so far.

    add Parmesan cheese and process until completely mixed in

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  9. Add 1/2 cup of pine nuts, or walnuts, and process at low speed until the nuts are roughly chopped and fully mixed in. The coarse nuts give the pesto a great texture.

    add pine nuts to the pesto mixture in the food processor

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  10. Place the pesto in a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. Top with the optional olive oil and place in an airtight container if you're not consuming right away.

    Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  11. Enjoy!