I haven’t spent much time with garlic scapes. Ramps yes, green garlic yes, wild garlic yes, wild onions yes, garlic scapes no.

But they behave similarly to the others mentioned above and since their curly tendrils at the farmers market looked rather inviting, I decided to play with them.

This is what I made, and I think you’ll enjoy it in your kitchen too.

You will need: garlic scapes, walnuts, lemon, pecorino romano, and olive oil.

To start, you will need to blanch the scapes in a pot of salted boiling water. Simply drop them in for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then remove them with a slotted spoon to an ice water bath to cool them quickly and “shock” them as you say.

The blanching is important because it will take the edge out of the garlic flavor which can be really intense when left raw. And the shocking is important because it helps the scapes retain their green color. There’s something about a brown pesto that doesn’t invite me to eat it.

In a food processor add lemon zest…

Lemon juice…

Your blanched scapes… and your walnuts.

Spin, spin, spin for about 1 minute.

Start drizzling in the olive oil.

Add a few turned of freshly cracked pepper.

Scrape down the sides too so it blends uniformly.

Add cheese now.

And blend again.

If you decide you want to freeze it for a rainy day, skip the cheese and olive oil and add those when you defrost and are planning to serve. You’ll put it in the blender at that point and give it a spin.

Scrape it up and put it in a ramekin or store it in the refrigerator.

It is lovely on pasta or with your favorite raw or cooked vegetables.

“Garlic Scape Pesto”

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Servings: 2 cups


  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped garlic scapes
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano


  • Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil and prepare a bowl of ice water on the side. Drop the scapes into the boiling water for 60 seconds and then remove with a slotted spoon and drop in the ice water. Remove and shake dry and add to a food processor.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor, slowly drizzling in the olive oil as it spins and adding the cheese last. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and spin again until the mixture is as smooth as you'd like. If you decide to freeze this mixture, simply blend it without the olive oil and cheese and add those once you've defrosted it and are ready to use it.
  • Serve with your favorite pasta or fresh or steamed vegetables.