Unconstructed Garlic Scape Pesto

June 26, 2010

Andy Worhol once said, “I never fall apart because I never fall together.” The same might be said of this “pesto,” which I was first going to call “Deconstructed Pesto” until I realized that I never constructed it in the first place. I did not use the recommended food processor or mortar + pestle for this pesto, since I don’t have either of those pieces of equipment in my kitchen. This pesto was made using a knife, a meat mallet, and many Ziploc bags. I’d like to think it’s how MacGuyver might make pesto, were he having a pesto emergency.

The flavor is quite nice, but I must admit that this pesto would be much better were the texture less coarse. There is a reason why people make pesto with food processor. But you can sing “I’ve Been Workin’ On the Railroad” when you make pesto with a meat mallet, so that’s something to consider.

And what, you may ask, is a garlic scape? A garlic bulb planted in the soil sprouts a bright green shoot up out of the ground. This shoot is the scape. If left alone, the scape will continue to grow and straighten out, and will take energy away from the growing of the bulb. If trimmed, garlic bulbs can spend more energy growing bigger and becoming those nice, large garlic cloves we love to cook with. Farmers used to trim the scapes off and throw them away until someone brilliant decided to try and eat one and was quite pleased with the taste. And the taste is quite lovely– like raw garlic but a bit milder. And though I love garlic, I mostly love scapes for the way they look. If Dr. Seuss invented a vegetable, it would be the garlic scape.

So. should you make my Unconstructed Garlic Scape Pesto? Not if you have a food processor on hand. But it’s a fair and kinda fun substitution.

GARLIC SCAPE PESTO (adapted from Garlic Scape Pesto from Pies in the Sky)


  • 10 garlic scapes, flower part removed, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste


Chop garlic scapes as finely as possible. Chop pine nuts finely as possible. Add chopped scapes, parmesan, and pine nuts to Ziploc bag, and squeeze out the air. Place that bag inside another Ziploc bag. Place bag on top of cutting board (so you don’t dent your counter top). Hold one end of bag with left hand, while using right hand to beat contents of bag ferociously with meat mallet. Take a break, rest bicep. Return to kitchen. Add olive oil to bag, and again, squeeze air out of bag. Beat bag violently with mallet until you can’t take it anymore. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.


2 Responses to “Unconstructed Garlic Scape Pesto”

  1. tbombs34 Says:

    Nice. I agree that this would certainly be Dr. Seuss’s vegetable of choice. I agree that a food processor is definitely better for this type of pesto, vs. regular basil pesto, which I actually enjoy with a somewhat coarse texture.

  2. […] More on pesto: Unconstructed Garlic Scape Pesto […]

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