Simple Garlic Scape Pesto

The FIRST recipe coming from our #1 DBF Top 5 Grows list is this basic pesto using garlic scapes versus basil. (Two more scape pesto recipes coming: one with arugula and a spicy version with spinach!)

Now, that’s not to say you can’t throw a little basil in there… but this post is about a pesto that is ALL ABOUT the scape, and it’s about as simple as they come:

  • 4 ingredients (and s&p to taste)…
  • a food processor (or mortar and pestle if you’re a badass with time…)
  • a tablespoon
  • a lined sheet tray

That is all you really need to make a nice big batch of pesto that you can freeze and have on hand whenever you want at a moment’s notice.

Just a word of caution: this has more of a bite to it than traditional pesto and often, you use less of it when dressing pasta or using as a spread. Just giving you a heads up! Trust me, though, it is INCREDIBLE.

SIMPLE GARLIC SCAPE PESTO (makes approx 2 cups of pesto or 30-32 tbsps)


  • 2 cups trimmed (flower head removed) and chopped (crossways) garlic scapes
  • 1 cup good olive oil
  • 2/3 cup of grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (can supplement or exchange with walnuts…)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (I like the smoked salt in this recipe to add depth, others I use just coarse kosher.) I used approx 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper for mine.


  1. Add trimmed/chopped scapes and pine nuts to food processor. Run processor at 30 second intervals, scraping down the sides in between as needed, to reduce scapes to a rough paste.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until all oil is incorporated.
  3. Add in parmesan and pulse to blend
  4. Add in salt and pepper to taste. Pulse to blend.
  5. To store: if using THIS MUCH PESTO (seriously impressive) within a week or 2, you can put into an airtight container in your fridge OR, do what I do: freeze tablespoon lumps on a sheet tray for about 4-6 hours or overnight (it’s oily, guys) and then pop into a ziplock for pesto whenever you need. I’m finishing off last year’s scape pesto tonight (yes, I still have a few tbsps left from last year’s scape harvest!)

NOTE: As you can see in the top picture, I actually did a “two-fer” in my prep. When trimming my scapes for the pesto, I took off the flower heads AND trimmed about 4-5 inches off the bottom of the stem (after removing about 1/2 inch where I cut to harvest them that had dried). I did this so I would not have woody stems making the pesto rough, but also so I could have nice straight sections for pickling!

Stay tuned for more recipes from this year’s GARLIC crop… two more scape pesto recipes coming along with pickled scapes and more. Finding these posts should be easy peasy! They will be in both the food category but also in the Top 5 Grows category.

I look forward to this sauce every year, and it’s very empowering to know that you can make your own pesto and freeze it to have on hand whenever you want. (Like I said, tonight we are having Bucatini with Pesto, Shrimp & Cherry Tomatoes… from last year’s batch. Seriously awesome.

Garlic is extremely versatile and can be used for SO much more than just chopping or slicing the clove.

Happy eating!



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