Garlic Scape Pesto

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Garlic Scape Pesto- Don’t let this classic farmstand ingredient pass you by this season without making some pesto! This is one of the easiest ways to add the bright flavor of garlic scapes to a dish. I’m going to show you how to use garlic scapes in pesto, and share some ways to use this easy sauce. You will love making this every Summer!

Bowl of pesto and garlic scapes.

Pesto Made With Garlic Scapes

Is pesto always made with basil? No, not always! If you have visited The Copper Table before, you may have tried my red pepper pesto, or my pesto made with oregano. We are using garlic scapes, those green curly stalks you have probably seen at the Farmers Market (or grocery store if you’re lucky). 

What else is there to love about this recipe? For one thing, it will make your Summer pasta dishes really sing, because there is nothing quite like the flavor of garlic scapes!

Also, it comes together with few ingredients and very little time. 

Beyond Pesto What Else Can You Make With Garlic Scapes?

This is a question I overhear being asked of farmers every season at the Farmers Market while shopping for my own ingredients in the produce stand. Pesto is probably the number one thing made each Summer using them. But, you can do more with them than just make pesto!

I’ve got a whole post on the blog that will show you all you need to know about what to do with scapes that you should check out! I learned a lot about scapes when I worked at an organic farm that specializes in growing garlic.

I also have this lovely garlic scape compound butter that you should most certainly make, since I know you will probably have some scapes left after making this pesto!

That is a big part of what this blog is all about- helping people cook homemade meals with fresh ingredients they find at the grocery store, farmstand, or CSA share and answer those “what do I do with this?” questions. I’d love for you to visit the bio page for The Copper Table to learn more about me and the blog, and how I can help you make great food you will love!

Basket of garlic scapes.

Ingredients For Garlic Scape Pesto

This list is not a complete one, you’ll find a full list in the recipe card. I wanted to talk a bit about some of the ingredients here in the post to simply give some additional info about them.

Olive Oil- Don’t skimp on quality here, bad olive oil will make for a less tasty pesto. If your oil is older or expired, it will make your pesto bitter.

Lemon Zest- This adds a freshness and brightness I think you’ll really like! You don’t find it in pesto recipes often, but it is really nice here.

Garlic Scapes- Watch for browning on the stalks, and they should be a nice vibrant green color. 

An important note regarding the nuts- be sure your walnuts are unsalted.

Ingredients needed for garlic scape pesto.

How To Make Garlic Scape Pesto

The full details are found in the recipe card, but I wanted to touch on some things that make this recipe different from all the other garlic scape pesto recipes out there that make it stand out. This comes together in much the same way as making most any pesto, we are just doing some additional things to punch up the flavor.

  1. Sauteed garlic scapes. Yep, we are cooking some of the scapes to let them get all browned and earthy and mild and yummy. We are leaving some raw, so that the flavor profile is really deep from having both cooked and raw scapes. All we are doing is sauteing them with a little oil until they are a little bit browned and fragrant. I’ve got great info down in the recipe card you won’t want to miss.
  2. Toast the nuts! This is really important to add even more flavor. We will also be using a combination of walnuts and pine nuts. They are really great together!

These are just some steps that make this pesto extra special, and I wanted to highlight them. If you have made pesto before, you will find this recipe to be pretty straightforward. Even if this is your first time making pesto, you should find this to be an easy recipe!

Pesto ingredients in a food processor bowl.

Ways To Use Garlic Scape Pesto

I love this sauce! Here are a few ways I like to use it:

  • Pizza base
  • Toss with pasta
  • Spoon over grilled chicken or steak
  • Condiment for sandwiches or burgers
  • Stir into roasted vegetables

These are just a few of many ideas. If you have used this pesto in other ways than what is listed here, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

How To Store Pesto

Normally, I don’t like to freeze garlic scapes because it kills a lot of their flavor. However, this pesto can be frozen in an airtight container for up to a month and still taste great. 

To store in the refrigerator, place the pesto in a glass or plastic container that has a lid and add a thin layer of olive oil over the top. This will keep the pesto from discoloring. You can refrigerate it for up to two weeks.

I hope you love this garlic scape pesto! If you made this recipe, I would love to hear from you in the comments. To get all the latest updates straight to your email, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. Happy Cooking!

Pesto made with garlic scapes in a gray dish.
Yield: 6 servings

Garlic Scape Pesto

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This easy Garlic Scape Pesto is full of fresh Summer flavor!


  • 12- 15 Garlic Scapes
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Pine Nuts
  • 2 Tbsp Walnuts
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 cup Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper


  1. Cut up six of the garlic scapes into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces.
  2. Heat a small non stick skillet on medium heat and pour in 1 Tbsp of the olive oil.
  3. Add the cut scapes to the pan and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown and fragrant. Put the cooked garlic scapes on a plate and set aside.
  4. Wipe the oil out of the skillet and use it to toast the pine nuts and walnuts. they only need 1 to 3 minutes, don't let them burn or they'll get bitter!
  5. Set aside the toasted nuts and cut the remaining garlic scapes into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces.
  6. Grate the parmesan cheese until you have 1/4 cup.
  7. Zest the lemon.
  8. Chop enough parsley to yield 1/2 cup.
  9. Add the cooked and raw garlic scapes, the toasted nuts, the parmesan cheese,. lemon zest, 1 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper to the bowl of a food processor.
  10. Pulse until everything starts to break up, and add the remaining olive oil slowly starting with 1/4 cup. Continue to pulse and add oil if needed. You'll know if you need more oil because the pesto will be really thick.
  11. You may need to use all the oil, or a little more than the 1/3 cup called for if you find the pesto to be too thick. Once it is ready, you can use it right away or refrigerate it. Enjoy!


Use good quality olive oil, and make sure it is not old or expired.

This pesto is great on pasta, pizza, and on sandwiches or grilled meat.

If you are refrigerating your pesto, add a thin layer of olive oil to the top of the pesto inside the container. This helps keep it from discoloring while it is stored.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 89Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 472mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g

All information presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist or registered dietitian and any nutritional information should only be used as a general guideline. Statements within this site have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is provided for recipes contained on this site. This information comes from online calculators. Although The Copper Table attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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