Garlic Scape Pesto

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that pesto got me through university. I spent three years in residence, first as a frosh, then residents assistant, and finally a hall director. You can imagine that by my third year I was getting sick of eating in meal hall. The one solace was that the salad bar had pesto sauce, which I used to make pesto pizza topped with spinach, mushrooms, onions, and whatever other veggies looked good that day. I ate this almost every day for my third year.

Even after the over-saturation of pesto in my life, I still crave it all the time. Not only is it a great pasta topping, it goes great with veggies, sandwiches, wraps, garlic bread, and even blended into caesar dressing.

Unfortunately for me, pesto is very difficult to find in Korea, and fresh basil nearly impossible. But that hasn’t gotten me down yet! Substituting basil with garlic scapes is a great twist on classic pesto. It’s got bite and spice that adds a little somethin’ somethin’. I also substitute walnuts for traditional pine nuts here because who the heck can actually afford pine nuts?

The Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 1 cup garlic scapes, chopped into 1 inch pieces*
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup water (optional if needed to water down)

* can sub half the scales for herb of choice, like basil or cilantro.


  1. Pulse all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  2. Enjoy on pasta, toast, wraps, pizza, or whatever tickles your fancy.


Garlic scape pesto on a dark green salad


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