Garlic Scape Pesto

By EmPower, Nutritionist & Chef
June 19, 2023

Garlic Scape Pesto
12 large garlic scapes, bulb removed, cut into ½-inch pieces (about ½ cup)
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil, spinach, or pea tendrils
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided and to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided and to taste
½ cup nuts of choice (pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios, pecans etc.) *lightly toasting the nuts gives
the pesto a dynamic flavor


  1. Add the garlic scapes, basil, spinach, or pea tendrils and salt to a food processor or blender
  2. Pulse a couple of times to achieve a rough mixture
  3. Slowly start adding ½ cup of the olive oil and lemon juice
  4. Stop processing and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula
  5. 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
  6. Once a smooth paste has been achieved, add ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese and process
    until completely mixed in. Taste for seasonings
  7. Add the remaining cheese if you’d like a thicker and more savory paste, or leave it as is if
    you’re happy with the flavor and consistency so far
  8. Add the nuts and process at low speed until the nuts are roughly chopped and fully mixed in.
    The course nuts give the pesto a great texture
  9. Place the pesto in a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. Top with a thin layer of
    olive oil and place in an airtight container if you’re not consuming it right away.

Pairing ideas:

  • Spread on bread for toast or a sandwich
  • Use as a veggie dip
  • Elevate roasted vegetables by spooning on top or tossing in pesto
  • Stir into mashed potatoes
  • Add a spoonful to your scrambled eggs or omelets
  • Drizzle on chicken, steak, portabella mushrooms or tofu

How to Store and Freeze*

  • Store the garlic scape pesto in an airtight container. Refrigerated, it will keep for about six to seven days.
  • To freeze, spoon the pesto into an ice cube tray or muffin tin and place it in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container; the pesto will be good for at least six months.
  • Remove from freezer when ready to use, defrost pesto cubes in a covered bowl until soft and add to your favorite recipes.

What parts of Garlic Scapes are edible?
You can eat the entire garlic scape raw or cooked. The best and most tender part is below the
bulb that forms in the middle of the scape. Similar to onions, if left on the garlic plant, this
scape bulb would flower out and produce tiny garlic seeds (mature garlic cloves produce better
garlic bulbs). The scape above the bulb can be tough and is not a good choice for a no-cook
recipe like pesto. If you want to save the pointy ends, add them to a stir-fry or soup where
they’ll get cooked until tender.

Garlic scapes are a great source of manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium and dietary
fiber. Health benefits may include: protecting against heart diseases, improving digestive
health, aiding in vision, detoxifying the body, improving circulation, increasing bone health and
anti-cancer potential. Vegetables of the Allium genus, which includes garlic scapes, are known
to have several disease-preventing qualities. There are many active ingredients in garlic scapes
that have anticancer abilities, but specifically, diallyl sulfides are found in good concentrations
in these stalks. These are directly linked to apoptosis, the programmed cell death of cancerous
cells, preventing the spread of these cells.