The first time I saw garlic scapes, I didn't think they were edible.
Those long, gangly heads and that tough stalk?
However, I soon learned that scapes are an easy addition to almost any menu, given a bit of creativity and passion for the slightly…different. 😉 I prize them now — they are a flavorful and nutritious green when most crops haven't even been planted yet! I'm convinced scapes are God's way of proving that He provides for every season!
So what are garlic scapes?
They are the tall stems and unopened flower buds of certain hard-neck varieties of garlic. Scapes have a slightly sweet, mild garlic flavor and the firmness of tender asparagus. This makes them easy to use in a variety of dishes, from soups to stir-fries! It turns out, their stems aren't nearly as tough as they look, so they render a pesto nearly as soft as traditional basil pesto.
Scapes are easy to recognize once you know what they are. They're tall, but only part of the stem is straight, since the stalks form eccentric curlicues as they grow. If you snip the scapes off of the bulb of garlic before the flowerheads mature, the plant will direct more energy into developing its own garlic bulb, so make sure you cut off your garlic scapes and use them liberally.
My favorite way to eat garlic scapes is in this pesto — it accompanies pasta, chicken, salmon, potato salad, and burgers beautifully. I hope your family enjoys this flavor-packed bowl of green as much as ours does!
Garlic Scape Pesto
- 10 to 12 garlic scapes approximately 2 feet tall
- 3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese grated*
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/16 teaspoon ground black pepper
Remove the head from the scapes, then chop the stems into 1 to 2" pieces.
Place in a food processor along with the nuts and the parmesan cheese.
Grind until the mixture is coarsely chopped but the pieces are fairly equal in size.
With the motor still running, slowly drizzle the oil in through the feed tube until all the oil has been incorporated.
Continue grinding until your desired texture is reached. I prefer the pesto fairly smooth and just a bit grainy, while others prefer it much more coarse.
Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
*For a dairy-free, Paleo parmesan cheese, see here.
What's your favorite way to eat garlic scapes?
just 15 minutes of hands-on time!
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