Garlic Scape Pesto

You’ve seen those funny curli-cues at the Farmer’s Market. What the heck do you do with them? Make pesto, of course! For those of us who grow our own garlic, garlic scapes are a delicious promise of alliums to come. The crop is looking fantastic, which means we also have a bumper crop of garlic scapes, the flower bud of the garlic plant that we break off in order to send more energy to the bulb. Here’s the crop:

And here’s the graceful scape. Snap it off where the stem meets the plant.

Garlic is very easy to grow, by the way. As long as you choose local varieties that you can get from the farmer’s market as well as through nursery catalogs. The stuff in the store right now is likely from China and is sterile–ick!

So, making garlic scape pesto couldn’t be easier. Since you already have the garlic flavor, no need to add extra garlic. And the nuts are salted, so no extra salt is necessary. In this version, nutritional yeast (which can be purchased locally at Nourish Organic Market or Harvest Health) replaces the traditional parmesan. I’ve made this with and without basil; either way, it is very good. The amounts of the main ingredients can be modified to suit your taste–and your crop–I find the food processor is very forgiving.

1 generous cup of garlic scapes
1 handful of basil (optional)
1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 T olive oil

Put the scapes and the pistachio nuts into the bowl of the food processor and grind away until the ingredients are finely ground.

Add the nutritional yeast and pulse a few more times until it, too, is incorporated.

While the processor is running, pour the olive oil in a thin stream into the bowl. Again, use as much or as little oil as you want. I process until I have a paste, which I can then freeze flat in a freezer bag to be added by tablespoonsful to soups or stews…

Or I will thin the pesto out with some reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes and make pasta, or use it on crackers. This stuff is addictive! Just don’t spend too much time in the kitchen. It is June in Michigan, after all!

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