Saturday, June 19, 2010

Garlic Scape Pesto with Spinach, Basil and Lemon

(pictured: garlic scapes)

(pictured:  Vegan Insalata Caprese)

(pictured:  Spiralized Veggies with Scape Pesto)

For those of you that are not familiar with garlic scapes (aka scapes) they are the green curly top on the young garlic. As the garlic grows the curly top with straighten, harden and lose its green color. When it is young it has both a soft texture and flavor.

Scapes can be used in any recipe you would typically add garlic too. I like them in scrambled tofu, added to cilantro rice, included in a veggie stir fry. The options are endless. However, my favorite way to use scapes is in pesto. You can add any flavors you choose to the pesto but this is one of my favorite variations:

Garlic Scape Pesto with Spinach, Basil and Lemon
Makes 4 servings


2 cups baby spinach
¼ cup basil leaves
2 garlic scapes, flower buds removed and minced (they have an odd texture)
½ cup walnuts, soaked for 2 hours to soften
½ lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper, to taste


Combine everything in your blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add water or lemon juice if you think the texture is too thick. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. The scape pesto will keep in the refrigerator for a week if a tightly sealed container.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 120.14
Calories From Fat (68%) - 81.58

Total Fat - 9.76g
Saturated Fat - 0.91g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 14.55mg
Potassium - 238.32mg
Total Carbohydrates-  7.62g
Fiber-  2.57g
Sugar - 0.76g
Protein - 3.6g


Tonight we had the zucchini and radish pasta (which I spiralized) tossed with the scape pesto, red bell pepper and cucumbers. On the side we had my version of Insalata Caprese with fresh tomatoes, a little vegan mozzarella and a dollop of scape pesto. This was the perfect summer dinner if I say so myself, LOL.

For those of you that are curious Insalata Caprese translates to "salad in the style of the Isle of Capri". It is known in the US as Caprese salad. In Italy it is a simple salad of fresh tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil and drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. It has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember though in the US it almost always has more olive oil than they use in Italy.

Unrelated Note:

Guess who didn’t make anything special for dinner again last night? Clearly I am not in the cooking mood this month. This usually happens a few times a year. I seem to have lost my cooking mojo. I do have a few things going on right now that have me busier than usual. However I hope to break this streak soon and come up with something fun for dinner tomorrow. We are expected temperatures in the upper 90’s so I will probably be making something cold and probably raw tomorrow.

The magazine project is going much more slowly than I expected. I found myself wanting to look through each one to see if there were any recipes I wanted to scan. If I keep this up I will still be working on this project at Christmas.  ;-) I decided to box up the magazines and work on a few each day until I have looked through them all.

Tomorrow morning we will be going to the farmers' market to pick our CSA shares and do a little shopping. I love going to the market and can't wait to see what is there that wasn't in last week.  It is a shame I love produce shopping as much as I do, LOL.  Talk to you all again tomorrow.


  1. Yummy. looks amazing. I will have to give it a try.

  2. M,

    Thanks, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


  3. That pesto looks delicious. I hate to shop- except for produce, the farmers' market is so much fun for me! Isn't that sad! ;-)

  4. Janet,

    Thanks!:-) We just got back from the farmers' market. I bought 5 reusable bags full. I swear I need to join produce anonymous. Though ..... I also love to shop for shoes, bags, clothes, and kitchen gadgets. I guess I just like to shop. ;-)

    hope you are having a good weekend,

  5. Well, I like your version of Caprese too! Very simnple and pretty. I've got to get a spiralizer (is that correct?). I could see me having a lot of fun in the kitchen with one of those. I saw a book at WF yesterday that made me think of you - How to Beat Cancer Through Nutrition. Only it has meat in it, too. :( Enjoy the market!

  6. One word: YUM. That looks so good. I am completely with you on the cooking thing right now. Maybe it's the hot weather for me.

  7. Heather,

    Thanks! If you can't find scapes substitute a garlic clove or two. Scapes have a very mild garlic flavor.

    I think the hot weather is the reason too.


  8. Blessed Mama,

    Thanks for the tip on the book. Did you happen to catch the author?

    Spiralizers are a lot of fun. Joyce Chen makes one called a Saladacco that many people have and seem to like. I use one that is an attachment to my mandoline which I bought a few years ago and haven't seen at Williams Sonoma since.

    talk to you later,

  9. that was interesting, thanks for writing that they almost always use more oil here in the states, than they do in Italy.

    apparently i have scapes growing right now on the garlic in the fridge....

  10. Michelle,

    Hmmmm, those may be the same. But since I am not a great gardener I would check with someone like Rose to be certain.

    In Italy olive oil is used as a condiment like salt and pepper. There are little cruets of oil on the table and diners pour a little (like a 1/2 teaspoon or less) on their soup, pizza or salad. In the US we tend to drench things in oil. I guess that is one reason the Italians are more slender. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  11. I have been waiting for this recipe, lol! I love garlic scapes, and can't wait to try them in pesto. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!


  12. Courtney,

    We need to share scape recipes! I would love to know what you do with your scapes. ;-)

    Also, I have always wondered about the nutrition of scapes versus garlic cloves. Have you ever investigated that?


  13. Garlic scapes are one of my favorite things...things sounds great. I've been planning on making a scape pesto soon with sorrel...I think it would be similar taste to the spinach + lemon.

    The zucchini pasta sounds summery and refreshing.

  14. Rose,

    What a brilliant idea! I love the idea of using sorrel and scapes to make a pesto. Thank you so much for sharing the idea. I will definitely keep that one in mind.

    talk to you soon,


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