Make this fresh and tasty kale and garlic scape pesto. This vegan recipe combines garlic scapes with kale and basil for a mellow and garlicky pesto, perfect for using on pasta or pizza. Made with fresh spring produce!
One of the best things about spring is being able to cook with fresh, local vegetables! I live in a cold climate so lots of vegetables are just being planted, but even in early spring we can harvest some things, like kale and garlic scapes which are combined in this delicious pesto recipe.
What are Garlic Scapes?
Garlic scapes are the flower stalk on top of the garlic plant. They are easy to spot at farmer’s markets or farm stands because the stems form curly spirals.
These stalks are taken off the garlic plant in early spring so that the garlic bulb will develop. That means in May and early June garlic scapes are easy to find at local farmer’s markets, farm stands or in CSA boxes.
The season for garlic scapes is fairly short, but don’t miss it! I love to use these curly stalks in my cooking. Some other delicious ways to use them are to grilled garlic scapes, pickled garlic scapes, garlic scape butter or just cutting them up and using them in recipes like this spinach frittata.
In addition to garlic scapes this pesto recipe features:
- satl, lemon juice and oil
This is a vegan pesto recipe, without Parmesan cheese.
My kids don’t mind garlic scapes, but they are not fans of kale. This is because some of the CSAs I belonged to when they were younger sent lots and lots of kale in our weekly vegetable boxes.
Huge bunches kale were delivered each and every week and it was just too much for them. So now they only eat kale if they don’t know they are eating it!
Luckily this garlic scape pesto recipe is perfect for hiding kale from suspicious kids. The kale works perfectly in this pesto because it cuts the taste of the garlic scapes which gives the pesto a mild and mellow flavor.
Some people make pesto just from garlic scapes, but that is too spicy and garlicky for me. Adding the kale brings the garlic flavor down just enough to make it more kid friendly.
Why No Pine Nuts?
One classic pesto ingredient missing from my recipe is pine nuts. This is mainly because pine nuts are so expensive!
You can certainly use pine nuts in the recipe in place of almonds, but I can’t justify the added cost. The nuts in the recipe are basically a base with most of the flavor coming from the garlic scapes and the basil.
You can also use walnuts or pretty much any other kind of nut you’d like in this pesto recipe.
How to Make Garlic Scape Pesto
1. Add the Vegetables
Add the kale, garlic scapes and basil to the food processor. Rip the kale leaves into smaller pieces to fit them into the food processor.
Start the food processor and pulse it until all the vegetables are minced into tiny pieces.
2. Add the Nuts
Add the almonds and salt and pulse the food processor again to pulverize the almonds and mix them together. You might need to scrape the sides of the food processor.
3. Add the Liquid
Combine the lemon juice and olive oil in a measuring cup. Then turn the food processor on continuously and slowly pour the mixture into it as it runs.
The pesto should form into a nice, spreadable mixture.
How to Store
Spoon the pesto into a bowl and cover tightly until you are ready to use it. The pesto keeps for a week in the refrigerator, although it might oxidize on top if not tightly covered.
This also freezes very well. I like to freeze small containers or an ice cube tray so I can enjoy fresh garden flavor all year long!
I have kept it for 6 months in the freezer and it was still delicious when thawed. It does seem to get a little less garlicky after freezing.
How to Serve
This kale and garlic scape pesto is very versatile and can be used the same you’d use almost any pesto. My favorite way to use it is to use it instead of pizza sauce on homemade pizza.
Of course it is amazing on pasta too! It also makes a great dip, perfect for dipping fresh carrots, radishes and other favorites.
Find More Ideas for Using Fresh Veggies
- 4 garlic scapes
- 2 large kale leaves
- 8 basil leaves
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Put the kale, garlic scapes and basil in a food processor and pulse until minced.
- Add the almonds and the salt and pulse until the almonds are finely chopped.
- Put the lemon juice and olive oil in a measuring cup. Then turn the food processor on continuously and pour the lemon juice and olive oil in as it runs.
- Store for 1 week in the refrigerator, well covered.
You can use pine nuts, walnuts or almost any type of nuts you prefer in this recipe.
This pesto freezes well, freeze in ice cube trays or small containers for later use.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 99Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 253mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g
Nutrition facts are estimates.