Nut-Free Garlic Scape Pesto

by Heidi @ Food Doodles on August 3, 2011

I guess I should probably start posting local recipes when something just starts becoming available, not when the season is ending.  Hopefully someone out there other than me has garlic scapes that need using up 😀  In any case, at least this recipe will be here for next year.

Before I go any further, I have to warn you, this is potent stuff.  If you love garlic scapes and love garlic then you’ll enjoy this, but I would suggest using it very sparingly.  That being said, it is really good despite the garlicky bite and the sunflower seeds made it almost creamy which was awesome.

As you can see in the picture above, I like to fill a mini muffin tin or an ice cube tray with pesto(whether it’s regular basil pesto or this garlic pesto) and then freeze.  Once it’s frozen solid I pop the blocks of pesto out and into a ziploc bag where they can stay in the freezer all winter.  I like to use a silicone pan for easy removal but a metal one will work as well, but you may need to use a knife to get them out so don’t use a pan with a nice finish on it.


Garlic Scape Pesto

  • 10-12 garlic scapes, tough ends removed and chopped into 1-2″ pieces
  • 1/4 C Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/3 C raw unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 C good quality extra virgin olive oil or slightly more to make a thinner pesto
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 10-12 large basil leaves(about 1/4-1/3 C packed)
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add the garlic scapes to your food processor and process until chopped fairly finely.  Add the cheese, seeds, salt, lemon and basil and blend, stopping the scrape down the sides occasionally.  While running gradually add in the oil until a smooth paste forms.  Refrigerate to use later or freeze in small quantities to use at a later time.


Leave a Comment

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jules Shepard September 19, 2019 at 16:11

Pesto of all kinds make me happy! Saving this one for later – mmmm…garlic!


2 Pat April 28, 2013 at 14:17

I am so excited to try this recipe. I have grown garlic for the first time in my garden and am wondering if you could provide another measurement for the amount of scapes. I am not sure when to harvest these wee gems. I have seen them grow about 4 feet high and I am assuming you don’t mean 10 – 12 of these size scapes. Please give me an amount I can measure. thanks so very much.
Pat D


3 Heidi @ Food Doodles May 19, 2013 at 13:28

Hi Pat, sorry it took me so long to write back! The scapes I use are only about 12″ long and are not much bigger than 1/4″ in diameter. They should be harvested fairly early, but I’m not sure exactly when. Maybe this site can help you.


4 maggie@maggieandthenuts August 8, 2011 at 12:11

I love, love garlic and pesto so I am so excited to try this. I didn’t know what garlic scapes were so I had to google them. (blush) I didn’t grow my own garlic this year. I did last year and thought they were perennial, so I didn’t plant any, didn’t get any. Do you know where I could find scapes if I didn’t grow myself? I would love to try this recipe. Thanks!


5 Heidi @ Food Doodles August 8, 2011 at 21:12

Don’t worry, I had no idea what they were either before I saw them at the market. I’ve never seen them at the grocery store so your best bet is to look at a local farmers market or to ask anyone you know that grows garlic if you can have some.


6 maggie@maggieandthenuts August 9, 2011 at 05:38

Thanks! I was thinking I’d start looking at the farmer’s market.


7 Charissa August 5, 2011 at 10:40

This looks like it would be terrific on toast with some pine nuts sprinkled on top!


8 Amy @ Gastronome Tart August 5, 2011 at 09:38

I like to fill muffin tins with chicken stock. My mom does it with pesto, but I have yet to make a batch I really like. Thanks for sharing! I love garlic, so I know this would be a good one!


9 Barbara @ Barbara Bakes August 5, 2011 at 07:09

Great idea to freeze them in little portions to use later. It sounds delicious.


10 Marsha @ The Harried Cook August 5, 2011 at 06:37

Before I say anything else, let me say I LOVE LOVE LOVE your photographs! They look great… and speaking of great – how yummy does your pesto look?! Great post… Thanks for sharing your recipe 🙂


11 Charis August 5, 2011 at 04:47

How fresh and green! 🙂


12 Naomi@onefitfoodie August 4, 2011 at 18:25

oh that looks phenomenal!! i love garlic scapes so much flavor!


13 Angie@Angiesrecipes August 4, 2011 at 13:06

That’s a brilliant idea! I am going to look out for some garlic scape to make the pesto!


14 Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli August 4, 2011 at 11:54

I LOVVVVVE garlic, but I’ve never tried garlic scapes before. Love the idea of freezing the extra pesto! I always “say” I’m going to do that with pesto/tomato sauce/broth but I always forget to do it!


15 Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather August 4, 2011 at 09:38

I do the same thing with my pesto! Love having it on hand in the freezer.


16 Kate@FudgyGoodness August 4, 2011 at 05:45

Wow, this looks pesto-licious! Garlic is wonderful in anything I say. Thanks for sharing!


17 Nami | Just One Cookbook August 4, 2011 at 02:30

Wow I never thought of freezing pesto! I am usually reluctant to make pesto sauce because I don’t use pesto enough, but now that I know you can freeze… I’ll give it a try making it. Your photos are beautiful – very simple and minimal and I love all the clicks.


18 Shu Han August 4, 2011 at 01:54

I love garlic so this sounds like a dream to me!


19 Adriana August 3, 2011 at 22:44

This is SO perfect. I have a basil plant and I’ve been meaning to make pesto but I never remember to buy pine nuts. Now I don’t have to worry about that! the parmesan in the fridge will finally be put to use! great! looks delicious.


20 kristy August 3, 2011 at 22:39

Oooo… I love pesto and yours sounded amazing! Bookmarked it to try out soon. thnaks so much for sharing.


21 Pure2raw Twins August 3, 2011 at 18:42

YUM love sunflower seeds, we use them all the time. One of our favs!



22 tinytearoom August 3, 2011 at 16:48

that’s an awesome idea to freeze them in a muffin tin. your pesto looks smooth and delicious.


23 Trent August 3, 2011 at 16:28

I love garlic, almost as much as I love bacon!


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