Pesto is a summertime treat typically made with fresh basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, and olive oil. This twist on classic pesto is just as flavorful and versatile, but dairy-free and lighter on basil. Garlic scapes, which appear in CSA farm shares, farmers' market stalls, and supermarkets starting in late spring, are featured in this hearty pesto.
Speaking in botanical terms, a scape is a flower stalk - a stem growing directly from the root of a plant. Garlic scapes are long, curly thick-stemmed stalks that grow from the root of a hard-necked variety of garlic, but do not produce flowers. Garlic scapes are harvested in late spring and early summer so as not to drain nutrients and flavor from the garlic bulb left in the dirt, dug up several weeks later.
Garlic scapes are typically sold in beautiful, tangled bunches and bear a mild and sweet garlic aroma and flavor. You can eat scapes raw or cooked, sliced or whole in ways similar to how you would prepare and eat green onions. Or, you can get creative with these 10 ways to prepare garlic scapes.
This gluten-free garlic scape pesto features a half pound of raw garlic scapes, minced finely in a food processor along with basil, parsley, shelled pistachios, and lime juice. Olive oil is added at the end to give this pesto a creamy thickness without drowning the pesto in oil. This bright, nutty and earthy garlic scape pesto can be used in a variety of ways:
- ½ lb garlic scapes, tough ends and stringy tops trimmed
- ¼ packed cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley leaves
- ½ packed cup fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios
- 1 tbsp lime juice (or lemon juice)
- 2 tbsp water
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Wash the garlic scapes and pat dry with a paper towel. Trim the tough ends and stringy tops and discard. Slice the scapes so they fit in a food processor (depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to process the scapes in batches until chopped).
- Pulse the scapes in a food processor until finely chopped. Add all remaining ingredients except the olive oil and salt and pepper. Process until minced.
- With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil. Process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Use pesto immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
Reminder: Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels to confirm the product is gluten-free. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.