Garlic Scape Pesto

the woods

Thursday through Sunday, I was away in the northwoods with no Internet, little phone signal, creatures crawling in the walls in the middle of the night (!!) and daily dinners at supper clubs where the only vegetables were potatoes. It’s a funny world to escape to for a greens-loving girl, but, every year when I go to Minocqua, I think again how nice it is to detox a little from a connected life.

the trees
out in the water
downtown minocqua

In order to take the trip, I was away from Tim for the longest time since we got married, and, kind of like Mary in Downton Abbey, I have to say that it’s amazing how another person can become so a part of you that you almost can’t remember what it was like to be without him. If I wrote every post on this site from here on out just telling you about what a kind husband I have, I still wouldn’t do him justice.

Anyway, we’re here with my family today, soaking up some time together and with them, so I’m going to keep this post short. I just want to tell you, first of all, that I am so thankful to the God who heard my prayers and gave me a husband who talks, fights, plans, travels and suffers with me in a grace-filled way; who isn’t insecure; who doesn’t say one thing when he means another. After a few days away from him, I’m freshly surprised about how sweet it is to have him. Also, I want to tell you about the garlic scape pesto he and I made the night before I left.

garlic scape pesto

We had garlic scapes because of our new CSA, an ingredient I’ve never cooked with before. Long and green and winding, garlic scapes have that unmistakable garlic flavor you’d know from the bulbs, but they are a little less potent. They’re perfect for pesto, to which we usually add garlic anyway. Wednesday night, we blended them up with olive oil, Parmesan cheese and salt, and used the combination to dress a salad and top leftover ravioli.

making pesto
pesto salad
pesto plate

Here is the recipe we used:

Garlic Scape Pesto
Adapted from A Garden for the House
Makes plenty of pesto, about a quart(ish), which is enough to dress a big salad for three, top around a dozen ravioli and save some of in the freezer for later

20 garlic scapes, knobby seed-pods removed and discarded
1 cup of almonds
1 1/2 to 2 cups extra virgin olive oil (add extra to a portion to make it a salad dressing)
1/4 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Generous salt and pepper to taste

Chop off the ends of your garlic scapes, along with any brown or damaged parts. Throw them in food processor, along with almonds. Pulse until well combined. Add Parmesan and blend. Add olive oil while food processor is running, streaming it steadily. Go up to 1 1/2 cups and check to see if it’s the consistency you like. Either keep adding olive oil or keep blending or both until it’s where you like your pesto. Salt and pepper to taste, which, in our case, means adding a lot of salt.

To use as a salad dressing, separate about a cup or so of the pesto and thin it out with olive oil until it’s the consistency you like for your greens.

About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home,, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

32 thoughts on “Garlic Scape Pesto”

  1. I love your observation on married life and the connection between you and Tim. I feel that way about my boyfriend, just because we spend so much time together. I’m visiting family for a week right now, and although it’s lovely, there’s a part of me that feels incomplete just because he’s not there. Beautifully written.

  2. I’m not sure how well I’d deal with the crawling creatures but other than that, it sounds perfect. The kind of distance and space always makes me appreciate my life even more.

    • Ha! Kathryn, It was something else. I woke up the first night, terrified in the pitch black, listening to animals running around. We don’t know if the sounds came from bats or mice or squirrels or what, but at 1 AM, almost everything is freaky, ha! : )

  3. My CSA has been givin g me garlic scapes lately, too. I have been loving the experience of chopping them…I’m not sure why, but it has had me thinking about how lovely the little details of life can be.

    I just spent two weeks away from my husband, and oh my, having him home the last two nights has been the best. I know exactly what you mean when you say “it’s amazing how another person can become so a part of you that you almost can’t remember what it was like to be without him.” Love is a truly incredible gift!

  4. Oh my goodness, Shanna! Your pictures are so amazing!! My mouth is watering for that pesto over some fresh pasta!! I have never heard of garlic scapes and wonder if they are widely available..I was so excited to get your book in the mail! Can’t wait to dive in, Kelley wants a review right away but we both know it will be great!! 🙂 God has blessed you with so much creative talent. So happy He has also blessed you with a true soul mate with whom to share your life!! Blessings!!

    • Donna, I’d never heard of garlic scapes before either! If you ever get your hands on some, know they’re great for pesto. : ) Thankful for your kind words here and thankful you want to read the book — you are, and always have been, such a sweetheart. Thank you!

  5. The color of this pesto is insane! So so pretty. Your photos are gorgeous, and your words about Tim are as well. Great post!

  6. Beautiful pictures and such a sweet post. I can relate, as I am always in awe that I have my husband, who is better and more amazing than I ever dared pray for.
    Also–I am pretty sure I saw garlic scrapes at the Farmer’s Market the other week. Next time I see them I will buy them and make this!

    • Well said! And if you get some scapes, I’d love to hear your reactions! It’s so rare that we can remember what our first thoughts were about a particular food.

  7. sounds heavenly being in the northwoods unconnected absorbing all of nature’s bounty! and these photos of trees are delicious.lovely reading about your DH, the pesto he made, & the CSA. we once had a CSA in upper east Tn where I live, but it disbanded, sadly.

    • How sad, Rebecca! It seems new CSAs pop up all the time though, so I’m rooting for you to find another. : )

  8. I’ve had a love affair with garlic (bulb) for almost the whole of my life; but its relative garlic scapes has remained an unknown stranger! HOW is that possible? beats me. I’ll have to try that one day, if our paths ever cross!

    It must have been hard being away from Tim, given that you and him are so close – but I suppose the short time apart was a lovely reminder of how much both your lives have intertwined. I feel the same about my relationship with Juan, and in a couple of weeks my mum and sis will be visiting me in Buenos Aires, and I plan to move into an apartment to stay with them for the month they are here – but even that feels far away from Juan!

    The pesto looks amazing, as usual, plus I really really love how much you put your trusty blender to use, for all things sweet & savory!


  9. “…doesn’t say one thing when he means another…” This coming Tuesday, Steve and I will celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary. There are a boatload of things that I am grateful for concerning my husband, but his kind straightforwardness is near the top of the list.

    Loved this.
    p.s. You won the Voskamp giveaway and I smiled big : )

    • Happy anniversary in advance, my friend! I love hearing about other husbands who reflect Jesus so well in this. Rejoicing with you both, for eight years of marriage and for God’s faithfulness in them! Hooray for the new place!

  10. I love this post…feels like summer. Every summer I went to my grandmas in Michigan these pics remind me of the house.
    I love reading ur posts and trying youre food I’ve become a regular to your blog:)

  11. This is such a sweet, heartfelt, and yummy post, Shauna. I know what you mean by not remembering what life was like before meeting the man of your dreams. I’ve been married to my best friend for 6 years now, and even though that’s a long time, it sure doesn’t feel like it. I guess that’s what happens when you’re having fun ;). We always joke about how helpless I’ve become. He’s the planner, the organizer..the leader so I’ve just become used to being a faithful follower (although at times I rebel haha). Whenever I have to travel by myself, I fear for my life. No longer can I just wheel my suitcase and follow him wherever. Your pictures are amazing and the pesto sounds fantastic! I would love to serve it with cod!

    • Thanks for that sweet response, Min. It’s fun to hear about other couples and their dynamics. : ) And, you’re right, pesto would be so good with cod!

  12. It’s true.. Being apart from your man stinks, even after 10 years of marriage 😉 that pesto sounds and looks so good!

  13. My aunt and uncle live in the north woods. Boy was it nice when we visited a few summers ago to have no cell service for a few days! I agree it’s hard to be away from the hubby. We’ve tried that video chat thing on the iPhone but I tend to spend the whole time looking at the little square showing my side of the call, adjusting my hair or worrying about how I look. Silly considering I’m talking to someone who has seen me at my best and my worst and still loves me. 🙂 In the fall when I travel for almost a week for work, sometimes I’ll write notes or cards for Chris to open each night before bed. He looks forward to those!

  14. I just received Garlic Scapes in my CSA this week also! Pesto was my initial idea as well. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂


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