Garlic Scape Walnut Pesto

Last weekend when I went to the Trout Lake Farmer’s Market I was surprised to see more than a few vendors selling garlic scapes. These curly green wonders coveted by foodies are usually only seen for a short period of time in June. So when I saw them a week into a July, I figured it was fate, and I quickly purchased a package.


Garlic scapes are the top portions of the garlic plant. They are harvested so that the plant doesn’t divert energy into growing them, and they are completely edible and have a great garlic flavour. One of the most popular things to do with scapes is make homemade pesto.


I knew I had all the necessary ingredients at home to make a great pesto, including the parmesan cheese. I do like to substitute in walnuts for traditional pine nuts into my pesto mostly because it’s significantly cheaper, but it also adds a nice dose of Omega-3 fatty acids. Can’t go wrong with economical and healthy substitutes!


One other secret ingredient I used was baby spinach. I had some in the fridge, and this let me get in some extra veggies, extend my pesto, and mellow out the strong garlic flavour.


When all was said and done, I was left with approximately 2.5 – 3 cups of delicious, homemade pesto. It was time to put it to good use.


I made a quick pesto pasta salad by combining the pesto with some plain 2% Greek yogurt, and tossing it with cooked and cooled whole grain farro pasta. I topped it with some roasted golden and red beets, crumbled sheep’s milk feta, and pumpkin seeds.


It may not have been the prettiest pasta salad, but it was a great combination of flavours – the sharp garlic flavour from the pesto, the sweetness of the beets, and saltiness and tangy of the feta, and the crunch from the pumpkin seeds.


Another night I decided to make a simple pesto mayo to go with chicken burgers by mixing equal parts mayo and pesto.


Along with some sweet onions, pickles, lettuce, and honey mustard, these were some kicked up chicken burgers!


Side note – if you are looking for a refreshing crisp white wine to sip on a hot summer day, I highly recommend Frisk Prickly Riesling. I am not a white wine drinker usually, but this was a great find (and only $15 for the bottle).


While I realize this recipe probably comes a bit late for anyone to take advantage of it this season, perhaps it will inspire you when you come across these delightfully tangled green goodies next June at your local farmer’s market.


Garlic Scape Walnut Pesto

makes 2.5 – 3 cups

Wondering what to do with those garlic scapes you bought on a whim at the market? Why not make pesto! Using walnuts keeps this recipe affordable, and adds some healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Use this flavourful versatile condiment to jazz up pasta or salad, to make dips or spreads, or anything else your imagination comes up with. 


  • 300 g garlic scapes, chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Add all ingredients to a food processor, and combine until mostly smooth. Depending on your processor, you may need to stop and scrape down the sides often to ensure even blending.

Note: You can use the more traditional pine nuts in place of walnuts if you like, or substitute other nuts/seeds.


What is your favourite thing to do with pesto?

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Categories: BC, Farmer's Market, Gluten Free, Local, Recipe, Vegetarian


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8 Comments on “Garlic Scape Walnut Pesto”

  1. July 16, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    Mmm it looks wonderful, and love the walnut sub! Oh and on the greek yogurt front, I FINALLY saw the original Fage here – not 2%, but the full fat – and I’m eager to try for the creaminess alone! Okay! Favorite way to eat pesto, in the fantasy world where I eat whatever I please, is with an al dente angel hair pasta and thinly sliced parmesean shavings on top 🙂 xo

    P.S. Could they not have come up with a better word than scrape!? Gosh

    • July 16, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

      It’s actually scape, not scrape….but still a bizarre word 😉

      • July 18, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

        Oh. Right.

  2. kristaskravings
    July 17, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    Great use for the scapes, Marianne! They grow wild out at my in laws farm…..hopefully I can remember this recipe for next season! 😉

  3. July 17, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    Never heard of garlic scapes…but I LOVE me some pesto!

  4. August 3, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    I dont know about canning, but I have been freezing a pesto base for years. I use about 5 cups of leaves, and enough olive oil to make it process well. I freeze this flat in freeser bags. Then when you want it, (in January!), just peel off the bag, break it up into a bowl and defrost, then you can add garlic, oregano, and enough cheese to turn the color pea green. I prefer Romano too. Then I add a ladleful of the pasta water just before i serve. Taste before you add salt.


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