Garlic scapes are one of those wonderful foods that somehow many people don’t know about at all! They’re sort of a happy side effect of growing garlic. Garlic plants have long, skinny leaves that shoot out above ground, as well as thick, curling stems called scapes. Many times they’re just cut away and discarded because they take away from the plant’s ability to focus on growing the garlic bulbs. But we think they’re definitely worth saving! Being part of the garlic plant, they offer the same health benefits as the cloves that we’re used to eating. Garlic may help to reduce heart disease, lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, and reduce certain cancers. Garlic also been shown to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. A ½ cup serving of raw scapes is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin B6, as well as a good source of calcium, manganese, and selenium. The health benefits are amazing!
The best part about garlic scapes is that you barely need to think about them. We plant the garlic bulbs in the late fall to overwinter. They are the first to spring up in the garden! Garlic itself is pretty hardy and easy to grow, and if you want to harvest the scapes, all you have to do is wait and watch for them! Now is the time to trim them from the garlic plants, so keep an eye out in your home garden or at the farmers’ market. They’ll be gone before you know it!
Unsurprisingly, these greens taste garlicky but a little milder than cloves of garlic would be. You can slice and saute them in olive oil as a side dish, or chop them and serve on top of salads, raw. They’re also perfect for turning into pesto! Toss them in the food processor with olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper, and process until you have a nice paste. Super simple and very flavorful! Serve over pasta or as a spread on sandwiches.
Garlic Scape Pesto
It’s garlic season and we are wild about the scapes! These flower stalks that grow magically from the center of the garlic plant must be cut so that the plant’s energy is used to nourish the bulbs! Instead of putting them in the compost, we started to investigate recipes and voila – we made yummy pesto! It’s light and delicious bursting with great flavor. Serve this tasty topping on Barilla Plus® for extra vitamins, minerals and fiber. Add chopped cherry tomatoes and edamame beans and serve cold or warm—it’s so good.
1 cup garlic scapes, finely chopped
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- In a blender or food processor, finely chop garlic scapes. Add the olive oil to scapes and blend until mixed well.
- Into a medium bowl, transfer mixture and add Parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Stir until mixed thoroughly.
- Use right away or cover and refrigerate (remains fresh for 2 days because of lemon juice as a natural preservative).
Makes approximately 8 servings (2 Tablespoons per serving).
Nutrition Facts per serving: 100 calories; 9g fat (2g sat fat, 6g mono, 1g poly, 0g trans fat); 0mg cholesterol; 5g carbohydrate; 2g protein; 45mg sodium; 10% DV vitamin C; 6% DV calcium; 2% DV iron.
– Stacey Antine, MS, RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA