Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 10 min.
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!

Updated: May 23, 2024

The best part 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. I’m always thrilled to see garlic scapes. The flavor is a little less in-your-face when compared to a bulb of garlic, yet scapes provide even more ways to add garlicky flavor to recipes.

Blending garlic scapes into 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.

Garlic Scape Pesto Ingredients

  • Garlic scapes
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Garlic clove
  • Salt
  • Pine nuts
  • Olive oil


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: When you’re prepping the garlic scapes for this recipe, be sure to remove the flower bud and woody parts before chopping.

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 long does garlic scape pesto last in the fridge?

Try your best to use up garlic scape pesto within five 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.

Garlic Scape Pesto Tips

How To Make Garlic Scape PestoTMB Studio

Why is my garlic scape pesto bitter?

Bitter pesto is a somewhat common problem that can usually be avoided in two ways. First, use the right kind of basil (you want sweet basil for this recipe).

Second, 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 store your oil might be causing it to age faster. Ensure you’re storing olive oil so it lasts as long as possible. (Hint: Don’t keep it above the stove, even if it is convenient!)

How do I make garlic scape pesto my own?

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

Otherwise, add spinach for extra nutrients or use herb-infused olive oil in place of regular olive oil for even more flavor.

How do I serve garlic scape pesto?

Use garlic scape pesto in any recipe in which you’d use regular pesto. We 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, we’ve been mixing garlic scape pesto into scrambled egg whites at breakfast and cottage cheese at lunchtime, and we definitely recommend both. Check out these pesto recipes for even more ideas on how to serve it.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Prep Time 10 min
Yield 1-1/4 cups


  • 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


  1. Place the scapes, cheese, basil, garlic and salt in a food processor; cover and pulse until chopped. Add nuts; cover and process until blended. While processing, gradually add oil in a steady stream. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 year.

Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons: 138 calories, 14g fat (2g saturated fat), 3mg cholesterol, 132mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.

Capture the flavors of spring with this homemade pesto sauce. Whether you toss with pasta, use as a sandwich spread or drizzle over your favorite Italian soup, it will add a punch of flavor. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen