Saturday, June 20, 2009

Basil and Garlic Scapes Pesto

This delicious recipe will take you less than 15 minutes to create and works in many different ways as a dip, spread, or sauce. It's a lot like the pesto most people are familiar with, but instead of regular garlic we use garlic scapes from our farmer's market. Scapes are the stems which grow from the garlic bulb. They can be picked as soon as they develop and used in place of regular garlic. If you don't have access to scapes, garlic works just as well in the recipe. Also, scapes are CHEAP. A lot cheaper than garlic. The stems cost 10 cents each at our market. What a deal!

Garlic Scapes:

I LOVE BASIL. Our basil came from a couple of sources. We've got three plants out at the garden and one in a container on the balcony. I like to harvest evenly from each of the plants in order to keep them all happy. All the plants are doing well, and our container basil is doing better than any of our previous efforts on the balcony. The plant in the picture below has already been harvested three times!

Container Basil

Basil and Garlic Scapes Pesto


4 scapes
1 1/2 tbs olive oil
3 cups loosely packed basil
3 tbs firm tofu crumbled
1 tbs nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper

Chop scapes using every part of the plant.

Heat 1/2 tbs olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add scapes and cook about 5 minutes until they barely start to brown on the edges.

In a food processor add basil and pulse a few times. Add rest of olive oil and cooked scapes to basil and pulse a few more times. Add tofu, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Process until smooth.

Spread on a sandwich, toss with pasta, use as a dip, spread on pizza, stuff ravioli, etc. etc. etc.

Make again and again and again. Double, triple, or quadruple the recipe. Freezes very well!

When scapes go out of season use 3 garlic bulbs instead. This recipe is pesto-perfect!

EDIT: Here's a version from our friends over at di-wine and dine that's much heavier on the scapes:


  1. I'll have to try cooking the scapes--is that why it is dark green? And with nut yeast too! Looks good!

  2. The scapes definitely darken up when they are cooked and it gives them a nice roasted flavor.

    The tofu/n.yeast addition adds a little extra creaminess that I can't resist.