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Vegan Garlic Scape Pesto over penne pasta
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5 from 11 votes

Vegan Garlic Scape Pesto

This recipe makes 1 cup of pesto which is enough to dress 12 to 16 ounces of pasta.
Course: main course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: corn-free, gluten-free, grain-free, plant based, soy-free, vegan, wheat-free
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 228.25kcal


  • Food processor, preferably one with a small bowl (or blender/bullet blender – see note below)


  • 1 cup chopped garlic scapes, 10 to 15 scapes
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, extra virgin or virgin


Prepare Scapes

  • Trim away the tip from each scape just below the flower bud (see photo below). Discard or save for making vegetable broth.
  • Cut the remaining scapes into 1-inch pieces.
  • Steam older scapes for about two minutes (see note below). Reserve the water to use in the recipe.

Toast Pine Nuts

  • Warm up a small, dry cast iron skillet (or other heavy-bottomed skillet) over medium-low heat. The idea is to warm up the skillet, but don’t overheat.
  • When the skillet is warm, increase the heat to medium-high and add the pine nuts. Toast, while stirring and shaking, for about a minute, or until they begin to give off a nutty aroma and turn a bit golden.

Prepare Pesto

  • Add the scapes, pine nuts, water, lemon juice, salt, and peppers to the food processor.
  • Process for a few minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl with a soft spatula as needed.
  • Using a soft spatula, scrape the pesto into a bowl. Fold or gently whisk the olive oil into the pesto until well combined.


  • If you don’t have a food processor, you can make this pesto in a blender or bullet blender – but you will have to stop blending every few seconds to scrape the jar or cup with a soft spatula.
  • Scapes develop a sharper flavor the longer they are left on the plant. Young and tender scapes are more mellow and even sweet. If you have young and tender scapes it isn't necessary to steam them when making pesto.


Calories: 228.25kcal | Carbohydrates: 12.75g | Protein: 3.5g | Fat: 19.5g | Saturated Fat: 2.25g | Sodium: 154.25mg | Potassium: 50.25mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.74g | Vitamin A: 37IU | Vitamin C: 1.5mg | Calcium: 62.5mg | Iron: 0.75mg