Garlic scapes are the stocks that grow from bulbs of hardnecked garlic plants. They could easily be overlooked, but I love that some resourceful cook figured out that they make delicious pesto.
This recipe is cheese-free and, though I’m not a vegan, I like to make it this way because I can serve it to anyone. And, with ingredients like kale, sunflower seeds and nutritional yeast, this pesto is packed with vitamins and nutrients.
This recipe is best made with a food processor or high-speed blender. There are instructions below for prepping the scapes and the kale before blending. Because the scapes are pretty fibrous, you’ll start with them. Then you’ll add the seeds and the remaining ingredients.
If you would like to freeze some of your pesto, this recipe will yield an 8-oz jelly jar for freezing and a half cup to enjoy right away. Leave a bit of air for expansion and top with a drizzle of olive oil before freezing.
To defrost, it’s best to leave it out on the countertop (rather than using a microwave). When serving, sprinkle with more nutritional yeast to taste.
1 cup garlic scapes, sliced crosswise (about 10-12 scapes)
1 cup kale, thick stems removed and chopped
¼ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup fresh basil
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ lemon, juiced
2 T nutritional yeast
¼ tsp salt, more to taste
Prep the Scapes & Kale:
After giving your scapes a rinse, cut the tops (flower buds) off and discard them. Alternatively, you could throw them in the freezer and use them to flavor broth as you would a bay leaf (remove before serving).
De-stem the kale and give it a rough chop.
Pulse and Blend:
Cut the scapes crosswise and place them in the food processor.
Pulse the scapes about 20-30 times.
Add the seeds and pulse 20-30 times.