Food + Drink

Garlic scapes!

As the next step in my ongoing quest to document weird-looking vegetables, I bring you the garlic scape.

A garlic scape is a shoot that grows from young garlic bulbs. Typically this shoot is cut off by garlic gardeners, as its presence prevents the garlic from growing nice and fat. How nice, then, that garlic scapes happen to be delicious! Reminiscent of garlic, yes, but a little spicy and maybe even a little nutty. Very fresh and summery tasting.

I made a garlic scape pesto as my first foray into garlicscaping (kind of like landscaping, only completely different). It’s a vegan-ized version of this recipe.

Garlic Scape Pesto (vegan)

8 garlic scapes, sliced (cut off the bulb/tip—you just want the rigid “stalk” part)
1/3 cup almonds
3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
freshly-ground black pepper

In a food processor, blend the scapes and almonds until evenly chopped and semi-smooth. Pour the olive in slowly through the feed tube while continuing to blend. Scrape down sides, then blend in the nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Done!

I got almost two cups of pesto out of this recipe, which is enough to coat at least a couple of pounds of pasta. If you can’t use it up inside of a week, pesto freezes nicely. You can make the defrosting of small portions easier by freezing it in an ice cube tray and storing the cubes in a freezer bag.

We tried the garlic scape pesto with linguine, grape tomatoes, and asparagus. You could really use any kind of veggies, of course!

While the water was boiling and the pasta cooking, I sauteed the grape tomatoes in a little grapeseed oil and salt. They probably cooked for about 25 minutes. I like to let them get soft and a little charred (I prick the skin to let the steam out). In the last 5 minutes, I threw in the sliced asparagus. If there’s anything I hate, it’s overcooked asparagus. Try not to let it stay in the pan for more than 5-7 minutes so it stays crispy.

Drain pasta, toss with enough pesto to coat, place in bowl, top with veggies. Add pepper. Super easy, and incredibly yummy. I have a feeling I’ll be making garlic scape pesto a lot this summer.

p.s. I also made this recipe for White Bean and Garlic Scapes Dip, and it is EXCELLENT. We’ve been using it as a sandwich spread and as a dip for falafel chips all week.

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  • Reply Meghan June 24, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Why have I not heard of these nutty, spicy, garlic-y things? Get in my belly, I say.

  • Reply Dan June 24, 2010 at 10:49 am

    That looks beyond delicious! Can I buy garlic scapes in a regular grocery store? I’ve never seen them, but that might be because I wasn’t paying attention. Not fair posting this in the morning an hour and a half before lunch but tooooo many hours before I get home from work!

  • Reply kellee June 24, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Yum. This looks absolutely delish. I’m going to try and track down these here garlic scapes this weekend. I might have to try a little altenative if I can’t find them (any recommendations, taste-wise?) but one way or another, this is getting MADE this weekend. Thanks for sharing.

    Also, in a throwback to a recent post you made, I ordered Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals” a couple of days ago. I felt I couldn’t put it off any longer. Thanks again for a great post on that. The dish above looks like the perfect accompaniment.

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 24, 2010 at 11:37 am

    @Dan: Fancy grocery stores (Whole Foods, Fairway, etc.) will most likely have them, as will the Union Square greenmarket. It’s worth trying elsewhere, though — grocery stores in general seem to be getting better about variety, and garlic scapes have gotten a lot of press lately.

    @kellee: I can’t really recommend a substitution other than just making a regular basil pesto recipe instead (you can sub nutritional yeast for parmesan to make it vegan). The key ingredients in the pesto are the scapes, and I don’t know what you could really use in their place to get the same type of flavor. Try to find them, though — you might be surprised to find you’ve just been looking right past them at your usual grocery store. 🙂

  • Reply my little apartment June 24, 2010 at 11:47 am

    YES! I just picked up some scapes at my neighborhood co-op and they’re delish! and so fun to look at too. thanks for the recipe, I’ve been wondering what to do with the rest of it…

    ( I just sliced it super thin, like green onion, and tossed it with freshly shelled peas, egg noodles, cracked pepper, sea salt, nutritional yeast, and a tiny bit of balsamic. oh, and a little bit of bacon…but that doesn’t apply to you 🙂

  • Reply Candice Hope June 24, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Hi Anna, I found your blog somehow clicking from blog to blog and lost track. This has nothing to do with your current post but I (and I will probably sound uber crazy) have to tell you that I love your little dog Fritz! He looks JUST like my Bella, except he is like a mini-me of her. I would love to find a long haired chi with those markings to be Bella’s sister.
    That’s all. I really am not crazy, usually.

  • Reply Sammi June 24, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Sounds absolutely delicious, Anna, and a vegetable that I’ve never even heard of!

  • Reply jenna June 24, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I just got a whole bunch of these in my CSA box this week and I have no idea what to do with them – thanks for the idea!

  • Reply nicole June 24, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I tried garlic scapes for the first time this year after spotting them at one of our numerous local markets. I’ve thrown them into pasta with spinach with some fresh lemon zest, cracked black pepper, and basil and also made my own pesto tossing in pistachios for a unique flavor and added green color. I do like your use of nutritional yeast instead of the usual parmesan and will try that next time.

  • Reply sarah June 24, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I just started getting these the past couple weeks from my CSA program. So far we’ve made garlic scape hummus and it is delicious. I have to go pick up my new share tonight so hopefully we’ll have more and I can try the pesto!

  • Reply chika June 24, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    oh, it looks very good. We have garlic shoots in reguler supermarkets in japan. My favorite recipe is just fry up garlic shoots, mashrooms,pork,carrots with a little oil. add salt and pepper to taste. that’s an easy side dish and also my favorite ramen topping 🙂

  • Reply kellee June 24, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks, Anna. It’s my mission this weekend to track some down.

  • Reply Vanessa June 24, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I’ve been reading lots about garlic scapes this spring/summer, but even though I’m an avid cook, I’ve never tried them. Don’t know if I can get my hands on them here in Sweden, though…

  • Reply GarlicBOSS June 24, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Your garlic scape recipes sound delicious and your photos are making me hungry.

  • Reply Sue June 24, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Can I come over for dinner?

  • Reply Vicki @ PTA June 25, 2010 at 8:15 am

    We grew garlic for the first time this year, and had a successful harvest (garlic is a totally simple thing to grow, by the way). Unfortunately, our plants never made any scapes! We kept waiting, but the plants dried out and were ready to harvest before any showed up! If they had, I’d totally be trying this. It looks fabulous!

  • Reply Brit June 26, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    The recipe looks wonderful, thanks for sharing. I only recently learned what garlic scapes are, I had no clue what to do with them. I plan to hunt for them at the farmer’s market now. Yum!

  • Reply Jen June 28, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Oh my gosh I made garlic scape pesto and I HATED IT. It was such a harsh, bite-y taste that I threw it away (which I never do). The scapes never got smooth like basil. I think I’m going to try again and maybe steam them to soften them a bit.

  • Reply Design Fixation June 29, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I’ve gotten garlic scapes in my CSA share the past two weeks so I have QUITE a bit of it. So far I’ve made scrambled eggs with scapes and spinach (delish, if I do say so myself). I’ll have to try your pesto recipe. And using it in hummus is a great idea, Sarah! I’ll have to try that too.

  • Reply Karl July 4, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Vanessa in Sweden-
    Garlic scape is available in Europe.. where I came across it first while visiting my cousin in Bremen. In Germany its called: Bärlauch, very finely chopped (in a blender) and mixed with butter it has a mild garlicy flavor when used on rolls, toast, etc. accompanying a meal.

  • Reply selena July 13, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    delish! I grew up on garlic scape kimchi. absolute love.

  • Reply m July 15, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I have to ask, how do you manage to find the time to regularly grocery shop, cook from scratch, renovate your home, commute from Newburgh to Manhattan, divide your time between two homes, look so polished all the time, blog, take care of pets, etc etc etc and still remain sane?!!

    This is a genuine question, could you polease do a post on your time management sectets?

    The dish looks great, by the way!

  • Reply Neha August 13, 2010 at 3:38 am

    Love this recipe!! And totally loving your blog here.. 🙂

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