Entree | Farm To Table | Sauces / Dips / Dressings

Garlic Scape Pesto & 12 ways to use it!

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Garlic Scape Pesto is such a delicious addition to so many recipes! This pesto is dairy free, vegan and gluten free. Perfect for pasta & more!

Overhead photo of pesto with almonds and scapes.Pin
Garlic Scape Pesto

How to grow garlic

Garlic is such an easy plant to grow. It basically needs no attention except weeding and fertilization. In most northern areas it is planted around late August or September and left to overwinter. It prefers loamy well drained soil but does well in my clayey soil too. It just can’t tolerate excess moisture.

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If you have clayey soil like I do, boost up the organic material with mulch or sand. Mix it in well with the existing soil before planting.

What are garlic scapes?

Garlic scapes are the flower bud and the stalk of the flower (botanically the peduncle) of the garlic plant. They are curly, green and originate directly from the bulb.

If the garlic “scapes” are not removed from the leaves, the flower will take nutrients from the bulb, so that the bulb of the garlic will be smaller. Therefore, it is important to break or cut the garlic scapes off, before they flower.

In upstate NY they emerge from the beginning of June to the beginning of July. Remove them as soon as you see them emerge for best results. Continue to check for them for at least a few weeks, in case you missed any, or new ones emerge.

Bamboo tray with garlic scapes.Pin

Health benefits of garlic scapes

Garlic scapes contain many beneficial compounds to improve your health, for more information see this article. These include protein, calcium, and vitamin C. Like garlic cloves, many of these health benefits are lost in the cooking process. so it is best to eat them raw like this pesto.

How to store garlic scapes

Garlic scapes freeze very well. They can be chopped into pieces or chopped in the food processor. Then place them in freezer containers. They will freeze at least a year. Freeze them to use in recipes all year long. See full instructions on this article How to store garlic scapes.

Garlic scapes will last in your refrigerator for at least a month. Note: that they have their best flavor fresh picked.

Close up of garlic scape pesto.Pin

Ingredients you need

  • garlic scapes – best to use them fresh picked for the best flavor
  • almonds – (they are cheaper and easier to find than pine nuts) ground almonds whole, slivered or blanched will work fine. Use whatever you have in the pantry. Optional: toast the nuts lightly in the oven before making the sauce.
  • parsley – use fresh, not dried
  • basil – use fresh, not dried
  • oregano – use fresh, not dried
  • extra virgin olive oil – use a good quality oil for best flavor
  • optional freshly grated parmesan cheese (omit for vegan or substitute nutritional yeast)
Ingredients for garlic scape pesto. See recipe below for details.Pin

How to Make Garlic Scape Pesto

  1. Grind almonds in food processor until very finely textured.
  2. Wash and dry scapes well. Cut off the hard stem end about 1 inch. Chop into 1-2 inch long pieces.
  3. Place in food processor with almonds.
  4. Add washed and dried herbs.
  5. Run in food processor until fine. This will take a few minutes.
  6. With processor running, stream in olive oil. Start with 1/2 cup. Check the texture. Add more oil to attain the texture you prefer. Scrape the processor with a plastic or rubber spatula a few times to make sure that your pest is well blended.
Ingredients for garlic scape pesto. See recipe below for details.Pin
Overhead photo of jar and bowl of pesto with spoon.Pin

How to store pesto

The pesto can be frozen in ice cube trays. Spray the trays with no stick spray before adding pesto. Freeze for at least 3-4 hours. Remove the cubes from the trays and store in freezer containers or bags for at least one year.

Pesto can also be placed in freezer bags. Flatten the pesto in the bag using your hands or a rolling pin into a thin uniform layer. When you need to remove some for a recipe, just break off the appropriate sized piece.

How to use garlic scape pesto

  • Pesto is great tossed in pasta add some of your pasta cooking water to “marry” the pesto to the pasta.
  • Lather some on steamed vegetables. Especially summer vegetables like, zucchini, summer squash and green or yellow beans.
  • It also makes a perfect pizza sauce, see my Chicken Florentine Pizza with Garlic Scape Pesto.
  • It’s a great topping for bruschetta.
  • Top just about any meat with this pesto to give it a mild garlicky flavor.
  • Make a garlicky veggie dip.
  • Add it to soups or stews for an easy garlicky flavor.
  • Stir into mashed potatoes or mashed vegetables.
  • Make a garlicky vinaigrette.
  • Stuff chicken, pork or lamb.
  • Add a dollop to your fried or scrambled eggs.
  • Add it to pasta salad, potato salad or coleslaw.

Want to learn how to grow your own garlic? If you love growing your own produce, these articles are packed full of information about how to get that big harvest by the end of the season! Don’t miss our How to Start a Garden Series!

The first section is Planning Your Garden. Second is Preparing the Garden Site.

The third is Choosing Plants and Planting Your Garden. The fourth is Garden Maintenance.

The last is Harvesting a Garden and Preserving the Harvest, this article has over 100 FREE recipes for preserving your harvest!

Jar and bowl of pesto with almonds and scapes garnish.Pin

Make this Garlic Scape Pesto today, before they all gone until next June!

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If you have any questions or comments, please ask in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.

I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Overhead photo of pesto with almonds and scapes.Pin

Garlic Scape Pesto

Easy, healthy topping for pastas, veges and bruschetta. Made fresh at home!
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 278kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $3


  • 2 cup garlic scapes
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano
  • 1/2-1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese optional, for vegan omit or substitute about 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast


  • Chop garlic scapes. 
  • Measure herbs.
  • Add everything to food processor bowl, except olive oil.
  • Process until ingredients are combined and quite finely textured.
  • Stream in olive oil until a smooth sauce is formed. Start with 1/2 cup olive oil. If you would like the sauce creamier, continue to add the rest of the olive oil until desired texture is obtained.
  • Pesto stores well in the freezer. Freeze in ice cube trays or cupcake tins. Once frozen, remove to plastic freezer bag. Thaw when ready to use.
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Pesto can be refrigerated for about 1 week.
For longer storage, freezer in freezer bags in a thin package. When you need to use some, just break off a piece and use in your favorite recipes.
Recipes using garlic scape pesto:
Garlic Scape Salmon
Grilled Florentine Pizza
Pasta Salad
Air Fryer Pork Loin


Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 499mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 195IU | Vitamin C: 15.8mg | Calcium: 251mg | Iron: 1.4mg
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Originally published 10/13/2017 updated 6/20/2021

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  1. Why do people rate this without making it first? The enthusiasm is great, but rating before making it is misleading to others.

  2. Hi! I love garlic scapes and want to try your recipe. I have just found out I have a sensitivity to Almonds. Is there an alternative or can I just leave them out? Thanks!

    1. You could use pine nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, pretty much anything. The walnuts may be a bit overpowering with the scapes, but should still be good.

  3. 5 stars
    This pesto is so bright and flavorful! We tossed it with a pasta salad we made for lunch today and it totally elevated the dish!

  4. 5 stars
    We love pesto and garlic. This is definitely a win-win for us and its so delicious on pizza and we love using it for garlic pesto bread! Can’t wait to make this again!

  5. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness! I simply love all the different ways you have suggested using this pesto. I will never get sick of it with all these options!

  6. 5 stars
    This was delicious and I love using the scapes – a great way to get everything we can from the garlic plant. We topped our angel hair with it last night and it was delicious so thanks for the inspiration!

  7. 5 stars
    I am having trouble controlling myself. I want to make a pizza, but I may just eat all of this with a spoon. One of the BEST recipes I’ve ever made. Thank you!

    1. Hi Sam! There are 8 servings in the recipe, so it is 1/8 of the total recipe! Thanks for checking out the recipe!

  8. 5 stars
    What a bright lovely color! This looks so yummy and I can imagine it’s fantastic mixed with fresh veggies!

  9. 5 stars
    I’ve never thought to make pesto with garlic scapes but that’s a great idea. I love alternative twists to classic mainstays!

  10. Pesto pasta finds its way into our lunch boxes almost every week. I have tried many version , but this is quite new and looks interesting. I would definitely love to try . Thank you for sharing !

  11. 5 stars
    I love pesto!! I will definitely be giving this one a go, it looks wonderful Beth ???? I think my absolute favourite would have to be pesto Genovese. I eat it straight from the jar! ????

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