Simple Garlic Scape Pesto

In Recipes

Last weekend Alex and I went to our local farmer’s market and I posted a photograph on Instagram of our bag of produce, complete with garlic scapes. What to make with garlic scapes? I asked. We were both completely surprised by the amount of engagement of this topic. So many people had something to say about how to use garlic scapes! Grilling them was a popular choice, but the most popular of all: garlic scape pesto. I was surprised by the amount of interest around garlic scapes since they’re very niche, seasonal produce. Alex and I have been writing a vegetarian food blog for 8 years, and in the early days a farmer’s market find like garlic scapes would have minimal interest. So we’re so very excited to learn that so many of you also are wondering what to make with garlic scapes! Here’s a bit of info on garlic scapes, followed by our garlic scape pesto recipe.

Simple Garlic Scape Pesto | A Couple Cooks

What are garlic scapes?

Garlic scapes are the stalks that grow out of bulbs of garlic. They’ll eventually bloom flowers if you don’t harvest them, so they’re typically harvested before flowering. You can recognize garlic scapes from their long and curly stems. Garlic scapes are similar to scallions, but have a much stronger, garlicky flavor.

Simple Garlic Scape Pesto | A Couple Cooks

Where to buy garlic scapes?

When are garlic scapes in season? You’ll find garlic scapes popping up at your farmer’s markets in early summer: mid-June and early July. They likely won’t be available at a supermarket, so a farmer’s market is the best bet for where to buy garlic scapes. You can also grow garlic scapes in your garden!

Simple Garlic Scape Pesto | A Couple Cooks

What part of the garlic scapes do you eat?

When Alex and I started making our garlic scape pesto recipe, we actually had to search the internet quite a bit to understand what part of the garlic scapes to eat! We finally found out that you remove and discard the bulb end (where the end flairs and turns a bit white). You also remove any tough stems from the other end of the garlic scape (this may have already been done prior to purchase). Once you’ve done this, you can chop the garlic scapes into pieces and process them into the pesto.

What to make with garlic scapes?

Garlic scape pesto was by far the most popular suggestion to our question on Instagram about what to make with garlic scapes. For our garlic scape pesto recipe, we used walnuts instead of the traditional pinenuts, because they’re cheaper and we typically have some on hand. We also added basil, which helps to amp up the green color and provide another flavor to complement the garlic.

After tasting I will say, a little goes a very long way with this garlic scape pesto! Instead of eating it off of the spoon like I did, I’d consider spreading a thin layer onto grilled meat or pizza dough, or swirling a bit into yogurt and adding salt and pepper to make a delicious yogurt dip. Remember: it’s potent stuff! So you’ve got fair warning.

The other popular answer to our question about what to make with garlic scapes was to place them on the grill and grill for a few minutes until charred. I love this idea and would love to try it out. However, we like the garlic scape pesto since it makes quite a bit and you’ll be eating off of this jar for weeks.

Garlic Scape Pesto | A Couple Cooks

Garlic Scape Pesto (How to Use Garlic Scapes)

1 Star (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean


Wondering what to make with garlic scapes? Here’s a simple garlic scape pesto recipe. Use it with grilled meat, spread onto pizza, or swirl in a yogurt dip!


  • 8 garlic scapes (1/2 cup chopped)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more if desired


Chop the garlic scapes: Remove and discard the bulb end of the garlic scapes. Then remove any tough stems from the other end of the garlic scapes and chop them into small pieces.

Place everything except the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. Then turn on the machine and drizzle in the olive oil. Add additional olive oil if desired for a runnier consistency. The resulting pesto is very garlicky, so use it sparingly!

Keywords: Pesto, Garlic Scapes, Garlic Scape Pesto, What to Make with Garlic Scapes, Food Processor

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious, and a recipe developer and healthy & sustainable food advocate behind the award-nominated food blog A Couple Cooks.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is photographer and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best new cookbooks” by Bon Appetit, and a recipe developer, photographer, and technical expert at A Couple Cooks.


  • Reply
    June 22, 2018 at 10:38 am

    This reminded me of a post from one of my favorite, though long dormant, food bloggers. And a recipe I want to try if I can get my hands on some garlic scapes this month!

  • Reply
    Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite
    June 25, 2018 at 12:30 am

    I just went to our local farmer’s market this weekend! I’ll definitely have to be on the lookout for garlic scapes next time.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    This was great – I bought some garlic scrapes at my Farmers Market, but wasn’t sure how to use them. I whipped up a batch of this pesto and tossed 1/2 of it with some cooked linguine and garlic-sauteed shrimp. Was super tasty, almost felt too fancy for a weeknight meal! Thanks for the recipe!

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