How to Make Vibrant and Flavorful Garlic Scape Pesto

Updated: May 03, 2024

Garlic scape pesto is a wonderful upgrade from the classic version we all know and love. The added punchy flavor and aroma from the seasonal produce is worth the extra effort to source it!

One of my favorite parts of going to the farmers market is getting to browse all of the fresh spring and summer produce that you don’t normally see at the grocery store, and garlic scapes are one of my new favorite finds. Their flavor is a little less in-your-face when compared to a bulb of garlic, yet their existence provides even more ways to add garlicky flavor to recipes.

Blending garlic scapes into garlic scape pesto is definitely one of the easiest ways to enjoy them—and we’re sure our garlic scape pesto recipe will get you hooked on the aromatic seasonal green.

Our Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe

Our Taste of Home Test Kitchen developed this recipe that makes about 10 servings, or 1-1/4 cups of pesto. A serving is technically 2 tablespoons per person—but I can’t remember the last time I used just 2 tablespoons of pesto at a time. I’d advise you to skip the measuring spoons and eyeball it, even if it means your store of pesto disappears more quickly.

Ingredients

  • 6 large garlic scapes, greens only
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions

Step 1: Process the scapes, Parmesan, basil and garlic

Place the scapes, cheese, basil, garlic and salt in a food processor. Cover and pulse until chopped.

Editor’s Tip: Check out our guide on how to cook garlic scapes for more tips on how to prep your garlic scapes before processing.

Step 2: Add the pine nuts

Add the pine nuts to the food processor. Cover and process until blended.

Step 3: Pour in the olive oil

While processing, gradually add the olive oil in a steady stream.

How to Serve Garlic Scape Pesto

How To Make Garlic Scape PestoTMB Studio

Use garlic scape pesto in any recipe that you’d use regular pesto in. I love pesto on crusty bread for sandwiches, especially when they’re piled high with fresh mozzarella, tomato and prosciutto. Of course, pesto can be used as a sauce to make pesto pasta and pesto gnocchi, but you can also use it in place of tomato sauce on pizza to make pesto pizza.

Garlic scape pesto would pair beautifully with grilled or baked chicken for a protein-packed main course. Finally, I have recently been mixing garlic scape pesto into scrambled egg whites at breakfast and cottage cheese at lunchtime, and I’d definitely recommend both. Check out these pesto recipes for even more ideas on how to serve it.

Tips for Making Garlic Scape Pesto

How do I make garlic scape pesto my own?

Try using sunflower seeds instead of the pine nuts, which can be expensive. I’ve even made the recipe with dill peanuts instead and loved my results!

Otherwise, add spinach for some extra nutrients, or use an herb-infused olive oil in place of regular olive oil for even more flavor. Next, learn how to make spinach pesto.

Why is my garlic scape pesto bitter?

Bitter pesto is a somewhat common problem that can, most of the time, be avoided by doing two things: Using the right kind of basil, and double checking that your olive oil is still good.

Sweet basil is the correct kind of basil for pesto (although it may just be labeled plainly as “basil” at the store). Skip other varieties such as Thai basil.

Secondly, make sure the “best if used by” or expiration date doesn’t put your bottle of olive oil past its prime. Even if those dates haven’t come and gone yet, the way you are storing your oil might be causing it to age faster. Here’s how to store olive oil so it lasts as long as possible (Hint: Don’t keep it above the stove, even if it is convenient!).

How long does garlic scape pesto last in the fridge?

Try your best to use up garlic scape pesto within 5 days. Store it in a Mason jar or another airtight container. If you want it to last longer, freeze it for up to 1 year.

When you reheat leftover pesto, be sure to do so gently. Leftover pesto is best served in cold applications (like on sandwiches) so you don’t risk burning it.

More Ways to Use Garlic Scape Pesto
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