Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe

by Suzan Ferreira
Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe image showing bowl with shell shaped pasta and garlic scape pesto resting on a wooden board with a striped brown and white towel laying next to the bowl

This garlic scape pesto recipe is a favorite to make each year, perfect for taking advantage of the short garlic scape harvest season.  Garlic scape pesto is easy to make, using simple ingredients that make a flavorful substitution for garlic cloves in any dish!


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If you have never heard of these curly delicacies, you are not alone.  I’ve seen many pass on by these alien looking vegetables at farmer’s markets, specialty food shops, and even CSA’s, not knowing what they are & how to use them.

If this sounds familiar, I have just the thing, my friend.  All answers to your garlic scape questions are addressed here in my Garlic Scapes – What Are They And How to Use Them article.  Trust me, you will thank me later 😊


In a nutshell, garlic scapes are a flowering shoot which grows from the center stem of the hardneck variety of the garlic plant.

Easy to harvest, should you grow your own crop.  Easy to prepare, you can view the short video below on how to prepare your own.  And simple to transform into a favorite here on the hill …. garlic scape pesto!

Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe image showing organized garlic scapes in a bundle laying on wooden boards

AND when this fleeting crop comes on, it comes on!  You may be scratching your head and wondering, “what can I do with a lot of garlic scapes”?

Well, wonder no more.  Here are a few uses for our garlic scape pesto we are fond of.



Scapes can easily be pickled, fermented, used either fresh or frozen in soups and such, and even made into a delicious hummus (recipe coming).


Fermented Garlic Scapes

Planting Garlic

Harvesting, Drying, & Storing The Garlic Harvest

The beauty of making this garlic scape pesto recipe is that a little goes a long way.  

Organically Rooted Garden Group 728x90 banner image showing hand holding garlic with roots and name of facebook group

Many have said that the scape of the garlic plant is milder in flavor.  Not as far as I’m concerned!  High in garlicky goodness, it takes few garlic scapes to replace traditional garlic cloves.

Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe featured image showing fresh garlic scapes with varied shades of green

In fact, it only takes about 2 scapes to replace one regular size garlic clove!

Robust, fresh & vibrant in flavor, it takes only a few scapes to create a highly flavored pesto that is the perfect addition to many a dish(es) 😊


What are my favorite uses?  Here are just a few idea’s …

  • Grilled Fish
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Grilled Veggies
  • Stir-fries
  • Breads
  • Pasta 
  • Pizza
  • Eggs
  • Hummus
  • Sandwiches
  • Aioli

Substitute this delicious garlic scape pesto in (or on) any dish you would normally add garlic, onion, or leek!


To make this simple & easy garlic scape pesto, I simply broke out my food processor & added about 10 roughly chopped garlic scapes (enough for about 1 Cup of chopped scapes), sunflower seeds as I didn’t have any pine nuts on hand, fresh parmesan cheese, olive oil, and pepper.

Watch the video below or follow the recipe directions.  Don’t forget to print the recipe card found below or bookmark it!  Guaranteed you will want to make it again.  Just sayin’ 😊

This recipe can easily be changed up!  


Make your favorite pesto recipe and simply substitute the basil for garlic scapes!  Miss the basil?  Add a bit as well!

Don’t like sunflower seeds?  Use any seed or nut you like.  Think walnuts, roasted almonds, or keep it traditional, and use pine nuts.

Like lemon in yours?  Add it! Don’t like it so much?  Leave it out as I did. 

Don’t prefer so much oil in your pesto?  Reduce it!

Need a vegetarian or vegan option?  Simply sub the parmesan cheese with your favorite “cheese” option!

Add your favorite fresh herbs to the mix!  Think parsley, cilantro, dill, or tarragon here.

You get the picture here.  Make it yours.  


Preparing these curly wonders is really very simple.  Remove the “tip” (the narrow pointy end) as it can be fibrous, down to where the scape is bulbous.  This is the garlic “flower”, aka, seed head.  

Many will remove the garlic flower, however, I waste not, want not, and utilize the flower as well unless I am pickling them.

Herbalist Courses for all levels

The thicker end of the scape (where it actually grows from the garlic plant) can become woody, kind of like a spear of fresh asparagus.  

I recommend doing the bendy test to see where the scape becomes more pliable, and cut the tough or woody end from the scape.

Roughly chop your remaining scape and you are good to go!

Confusing?  Not really.  However, the video below shows exactly what part(s) of the garlic scape to use!

NOTE:  Don’t throw away the woody ends!  These can be frozen and added to soups and other dishes as an additional flavoring!


Trust me.  When you make this pesto, I highly recommend making more than you will be using!

There is no doubt in my mind that garlic lover’s will want to have this available year round.

Thank goodness, we have several options of storing our pesto for an extended amount of time.


Unfortunately, no.  No pesto’s are safe for canning.  Period.  There is no canning method that is considered safe to preserve pesto’s.

Sad I know, but we have other options!


Store your prepared garlic scape pesto in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.  It should keep well for about a week as is.

Alternatively, add a thin layer of olive oil on the top of the pesto and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it!


Looking for a long-term storage option for your garlic scape pesto?  Freeze it!

Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe in 1 tablespoon increments in white ice cube tray resting on wooden board with fresh green garlic scapes laying next to the white ice cube tray

Adding a few tablespoons to an ice cube tray is a favorite method here on the hill.  Freeze thoroughly, remove the pesto “cubes” from the tray, and store in a freezer container or reusable freezer bag.

Don’t forget to label and date your containers no matter which you use!  Properly frozen, your garlic scape pesto will last at a minimum of 6 months in the freezer.

Grab & save your copy of how to make garlic scape pesto below!

Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe image showing bowl with shell shaped pasta and garlic scape pesto resting on a wooden board with a striped brown and white towel laying next to the bowl

Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe

Serves: 6 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 4.8/5
( 5 voted )


  • 1 C Prepared Fresh Garlic Scapes
  • 1/4 C Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 C Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 C EVOO
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste


  1.  Prepare the fresh garlic scapes by roughly chopping 1 C total or about 10+ scapes and add to a food processor
  2.  Pulse the scapes for about 30 to 40 seconds
  3.  Scrape the sides of the bowl down
  4.  1/4 C Sunflower seeds, add to the bowl
  5.  Pulse 30 to 40 seconds again.  Scrape the bowl down the sides
  6.  Add 1/4 C Parmesan Cheese broken up to the bowl
  7.  Drizzle slowly as you process, 1/2 C EVOO, stopping when halfway complete
  8.  Add salt and pepper to taste, your choice
  9.  Continue processing and slowly add the remainder EVOO
  10.  Store the prepared garlic scape pesto in the refrigerator or freeze and store in an air-tight freezer storage container It's My Sustainable Life Logo

Be forewarned!  Garlic scape pesto can be addicting.  Your welcome 😊

Have you made this garlic scape recipe yet?

Love, Light, & Laughter ~


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Stacey Billingsley July 26, 2022 - 7:44 pm

Yum! I love pesto, and this scape pesto recipe looks so good. I may have to have pasta with veggies and this in the near future, like tonight!

Lisa, Casey, Barrett Dog July 25, 2022 - 1:11 am

We had no idea what Garlic Scape Presto was. The ingredients sound amazing. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

Tiffany July 24, 2022 - 1:00 am

I love that this is so easy to make vegan! My husband had been missing pesto so hopefully, this will make his life a bit better!!

Stacie July 22, 2022 - 7:03 pm

This pesto sounds absolutely delicious! Garlic is one of my favorite flavors to use in so many recipes.

Cindy Moore July 21, 2022 - 8:54 pm

Great idea to create the garlic scape pesto and then freeze in small batches for all kinds of uses! I’d have to leave out the Parmesan cheese or use a vegan substitute but I want to try this. Just need to find garlic scapes…

kmf July 21, 2022 - 4:54 am

I love pesto and this one made with garlic scapes sounds and looks fabulous! Greatly appreciate the recipes.

Barbara July 20, 2022 - 11:20 am

Garlic scape pesto look so vibrant and tasty! I would love to try this! Yummy for sure!

Lisa Manderino July 20, 2022 - 4:08 am

I wish I could hire someone who would grow garlic scapes for me and then cook pesto for me! I love all the fresh ingredients!

Missy July 19, 2022 - 2:32 am

I am looking forward to trying this garlic scape pesto recipe. I liked that there are sunflower seeds in it too.

Megan July 18, 2022 - 5:11 pm

This sounds so good! I love garlic and I love pesto, so this garlic scape pesto recipe sounds perfect!

Michele Morin July 13, 2022 - 11:10 am

This sounds SO flavorful!


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