Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto

Bowl of garlic scape pesto

Christine Glade / Getty Images

  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings

Once you discovered garlic scape pesto, you will be hooked. It is one of the few things the entire family loves, and they'll prefer it over just plain basil pesto. It tastes better and doesn't brown as basil does. Freeze a ton of it or put it in small glass canning jars. That way if you forget to take it out in the morning, you can thaw it quickly by putting it either next to the large pot of water heating for pasta, or right on the flat lid.

Garlic scapes are a long curly stem that grows from hard necked garlic. You usually cut these off in the spring, after they've curled so the energy of the plant can go to producing larger heads of garlic.

The ingredients listed are approximate and should be modified to taste.


  • 10 to 12 large garlic scapes (bulb removed, cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cup olive oil (good quality)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • Optional: 1 cup basil leaves (dry, lightly packed)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add 10 to 12 garlic scapes, 1 cup of basil, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt to the large bowl of a food processor.

  3. Start processing, adding 1/2 to 1 cup of olive oil, slowly.

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

  5. Once a smooth paste has been achieved, add 1/2 to 1 cup of Parmesan cheese and process until completely mixed in.

  6. Stop processing and add 1/2 cup of pine nuts (or walnuts).

  7. Pulse processor until nuts are roughly chopped and fully mixed in. This gives the pesto a great texture.


  • Use an airtight container for your pesto and cover with a thin layer of olive oil before closing the lid. Pesto will keep, if refrigerated, for a week or two.
  • Spoon garlic scape pesto into ice cube trays. Once the cubes are frozen, remove and transfer to a plastic freezer bag.

Serving Suggestions

  • Grill sausage, chicken, or fish and serve it with pasta and garlic scape pesto.

  • Spread fresh ricotta cheese on a toasted baguette and cover with garlic scape pesto.

  • Use garlic scape pesto on sandwiches instead of mayo.

  • Add frozen scape pesto cubes to soups, pasta sauces or stews for a great, rich flavor.

  • Add additional olive oil to thin down pesto and drizzle over tomatoes and mozzarella.