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Posted on Mon, Jun 21, 2010 : 5:01 a.m.

Vegan Garlic Scape Pumpkin Seed Pesto inspired by Dick's Pretty Good Garlic

By Corinna Borden

Borden - Scape pesto on pasta

Garlic scape pesto with pumpkin seeds coats every noodle in a perfect blend of nuttiness and garlic bite.

Corinna Borden | Contributor

According to the pictures and data on Real Time Farms, this week at the farmers markets in and around Ann Arbor was garlic scape week, often referred to as just “scapes.” The Washington Post describes scapes beautifully in a recent post, as “a part of the garlic plant that is a garlic lover's nirvana.”

Farmers harvest scapes from the hardnecked garlic plants because keeping the flower shoot (the scape) attached will curtail the continuing development of the bulb. Not only does it help the bulb develop, it is a delicious treat of garlicky goodness that is a step down in intensity from munching on raw garlic cloves.

Dick’s Pretty Good Garlic was selling 18 different varieties of garlic scapes last Thursday at the Westside Farmers Market. Dick and Diana Dyer were handing out recipes for their Garlic Scape Pesto along with the nubile round stalks.

As you may remember, I am not very good at following directions for recipes, but the idea of Garlic Scape Pesto was captivating as a jumping off point.

Borden - Garlic Scapes

Scapes are the flower stalk of hardnecked garlic.

Corinna Borden | Contributor

So I looked in the larder and came up with a new recipe. I had a big bag of pumpkin seeds and three walnuts left in the cupboard, so I threw a handful of pumpkin seeds with the walnuts into the toaster. I don’t like putting cheese in my pesto because I prefer to add fresh grated later (if at all).

While the pumpkin seeds and the three walnuts toasted, I cut up the 9 scapes, and threw them into the blender. My scapes were the Stull variety, according to the handout from the Dyers.

The nuts and the scapes blended together as I drizzled olive oil into the blender until the mixture was a cohesive mass; at the very end I added a swig of pumpkin seed oil. I did not add extra salt because the pumpkin seeds were salted.

Borden - scapes in situ

Scapes are identifiable as the curly stalks growing from the garlic plant.

Photo of Spanish Roja scapes courtesy of Dick Dyer

Then I spooned it on top of the Mixed Blend Pasta Noodles from Pasta e Pasta, grated some pepper, and took a bite. It was perfect. For me, the classic recipe of garlic with olive oil on top of pasta often ends up with chunks of garlic either undercooked or charred. Scape Pesto spread the intensity of the garlic along every noodle. The color of the pesto is bright green and I like the nuttiness of the pumpkin seeds. I think it would work very well in lasagna, on eggs, and even with meat.

Next week I am going to purchase more scapes to freeze some pesto for the wintertime!

(Check out Diana Dyer’s blog for other ideas of what to do with scapes.)

Corinna volunteers with the Westside Farmers Market and wrote a book about many things.


Patti Smith

Wed, Jun 23, 2010 : 5:13 p.m.

I made the pesto today, using black walnut meat from the market. Yum! My husband, who is a fairly picky eater, gobbled it down. Congrats, Diana and Dick!


Tue, Jun 22, 2010 : 9:18 a.m.

Thanks for the recipe. I went to their blog but couldn't find this one. Very interesting blog though, I highly recommend it.


Mon, Jun 21, 2010 : 5:01 p.m.

All right, Mom and Dad! This looks... pretty good!


Mon, Jun 21, 2010 : 12:28 p.m.

This looks good, but can you post their pesto recipe too? I'd like to compare. And one tip on doing your own pumpkin seeds: clean the pumpkin and leave the seeds in the fridge for a couple of days to dry out. They are easier to get crisp that way. I like to season some with chili also.

Karl Rosaen

Mon, Jun 21, 2010 : 11:53 a.m.

One great use I've found for scapes is to dice them up and mix them with ground beef for some tasty burgers (TMZ grass fed of course!). Oh, and don't forget to top it off with some pimento cheese from Zingerman's creamery! Karl

Julia Eussen

Mon, Jun 21, 2010 : 9:42 a.m.

This looks wonderful - thank you! Can I get pumpkin seeds any time of year?