We’ve been with our CSA for a few years now and it’s always been a bit of a slow go. The first share is small but slowly, as the farming season ramps up, each consecutive share gets bigger and bigger. Strangely though, this year the first share of the season was a big ‘un. Several varieties of lettuce, chard, kale, plus broccoli, sui choy, onions and my sputnik friend, kohlrabi. But the big payload was a gigantic mess of green garlic scapes.
Just look at how beautiful these greens are! Come to mama. I figured that making a big batch of pesto was the way to get through the pile quickly before the next week runneth us over with even more vegetables.
So I killed two birds with one stone. Along with the scapes, I threw in some boxed organic arugula that I had in the fridge. The arugula needed to be eaten now as it was well on the way to limpsville, so into the pesto it went. If you don’t have arugula, toss in spinach, kale or chard in its place. You’ll have a slightly different flavour, but it will be really delicious. Add in the remaining essentials (nuts, oil, cheese, salt) and whizz it up into a fragrant little sauce. And I should point out that cheese isn’t needed here. You can make a dairy-less version instead or if you hate walnuts (I know a few who do), then toss in almonds or pine nuts instead. Variety is what keeps pesto from getting boring.
I jarred mine up into glass jars. One stayed in the fridge for immediate sampling, but the other 2 went into the freezer. What can you do with garlic scape pesto? My first impulse was to spoon some into pasta, a delicious no brainer.
Next, we tried it tossed with steamed baby potatoes and that was crazy delicious, especially with a quick squeeze of lemon and a bit of flakey salt sprinkled over top. Next time, I’ll try the pesto as a base for pizza because I’m sure it would be perfect with heirloom tomatoes. And more cheese. If you have any other suggestions on what I can do with my pesto bounty, let me know!
elsewhere: Want to meet the drink that I’ve been making on a weekly basis this summer? Head over to Poppytalk & get the recipe for this simple & beautiful refresher: the hibiscus sunset. And why not put the lime in the coconut with these chewy soft cookies.
arugula & garlic scape pesto
2 c garlic scapes, cut into bits & the flower head discarded
1 – 2 c arugula (or spinach, torn up kale or chard)
1/2 c walnuts
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese (leave out for a vegan version)
1/4 – 1/3 c olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon (or more)
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t chili pepper flakes
Combine the garlic scapes, arugula, walnuts, cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times. Let the machine run and slowly pour in half the amount of oil along with the lemon juice, salt and chili flakes. Slowly add the remaining oil until you’ve reached a good consistency (you may not need all the oil). Store in a lidded jar in the fridge for a week or freeze in small jars.
Since both arugula and garlic scapes have very strong flavors, this pesto must be so intense! In a good way. I would make grilled cheese sandwiches with it!
I love green pesto on top of chunks of organic beetroot. A simple dish I nicked from my favourite London restauarant, da Polpo. 🙂
Pasta for me too, definitely! I can’t wait to taste the feisty flavor of garlic, bringing out a more spicy summer. I’d love this with roasted tomatoes too…Your pictures are wonderful! Even simple greens look magical in your clicks!
We just made a mess of garlic scape pesto (vegan-style) last weekend, too! I never thought about tossing it with steamed new potatoes. Must try that!
Joanne, I don’t find the pesto to be very intense, though it’s definitely “grassy” which I like. And yes, it would be amazing with grilled cheese, good call!
SLJ, that sounds amazing – I’ll have to give it a try! Thanks.
Thanks yumgoggle 🙂
Marisa, it’s really good on potatoes, I hope you like it too!
Great minds think alike! I made garlic scape and kale pesto this past weekend. Pasta, pizza and potatoes are all good uses, but I also saw it on crostini recently with fresh tomatoes and thought that sounded great, too. I hadn’t heard about removing the flower head. Can you fill me in?
Nicole, the crostini idea sounds great! As for the flower heads, I’ve always discarded them and just used the stems – the bottom right up to just before the flower. I read that you should just toss the flower part so that’s what I’ve always done – into the compost it goes. Do you eat the flower part? Now I’m curious!!
Use it to make pesto lasagna. Layer with bechamel sauce and pesto. It’s gorgeous and so simple!
I just made this and wow is it good. I substituted half spinach and half watercress for the arugula and was very pleased with the outcome. I thought I’d try it on a slice of a beautiful heirloom tomato I just bought at a local farm. That was five minutes and one whole tomato ago. I agree this would be divine on a grilled cheese sandwich. I will use it as a dip for crudite and such. I think you’re a genius!
How about swirling that beautiful green mixture into a summer tomato soup? And I agree, it would be great on grilled cheese. Thanks!
I’ve never gotten garlic scapes in my CSA, but if I do I am going to remember this pesto. In my opinion, pesto is never boring — I could eat it 24/7 (but I don’t!).
I have been getting lots of garlic scapes in my CSA too and also tried making a pesto, but it was waaaaay too garlicky! Since I’ve also been receiving a lot of swiss chard & kale I think I’ll try again with your recipe. Also, I love the idea of using the pesto on potatoes–great tip!
Julie, that sounds amazing! I’ll have to try that.
Tess, so glad you enjoyed it. And thanks for the super kind words 🙂
Donna, if I was a fan of tomato soup, I’d be there (maybe I just need to find the perfect recipe). Thanks!
I’m lucky that we’ve been getting scapes for a few years with ours, Sharyn. Maybe ask your farmer if they can plant garlic!
Gretchen, you can blanch the scapes if you find them too garlicky. For some reason, I’ve never found them to be as garlicky as the bulb. But mixing them with a green like arugula or kale will certainly help cut down on the garlic breath!
I have been eating the flower part, ha! I hadn’t heard about discarding them, so they’ve been blended into pesto, sauteed and added raw on top of pizza 🙂 I did notice that last year’s CSA had really tender scape stems and the local ones lately have been more woody and tough. I peeled them last night like asparagus.
Nicole, good to know! I thought it might add an odd texture, but I’m glad it doesn’t. Yay for eating flowers 🙂
I saw garlic scapes at the farmer’s market recently so I bought two bunches and gave them to my mom. She just stashed them in the fridge and hasn’t used them yet (!!) I should have kept them for myself and made your delicious looking pesto instead! ha!
Tell your mom to get on it, Bijoux! They do last a long time in the fridge so they’re probably still fine. Make some pesto together!