Garlic Scape Pesto Pasta

Garlic scapes (the green, mildly garlicky tasting tops that grow above the garlic bulb) start showing up at farmer's markets, gardens, and CSA boxes in early spring. If you see them and wonder what the heck to use them for, here's your answer: Garlic Scape Pesto Pasta! It's a fun alternative to traditional pesto that still packs in the greens and allows you to use every part of your garlic plant. Let's do it!

Serves 3-4


1 package Taste Republic gluten-free fusilli

3/4 cup garlic scapes, chopped

1/2 cup almonds (raw and unsalted)

3 cups arugula

1 cup basil leaves

½ cup sunflower oil

¼ cup cup extra virgin olive oil

⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for serving

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Salt, pepper


To make the pesto:

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the garlic scapes and keep at a lively simmer for 3 minutes, until vibrant green and just tender. Drain.

Add the cooked garlic scapes and almonds to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse quickly 10-12 times, until roughly chopped. Add the arugula and basil leaves and pulse 10 more times. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the food processor. 

With the motor running, stream in the sunflower oil and olive oil slowly, until the ingredients form a thick paste. Scrape the pesto into a mixing bowl and fold in the grated cheese and lemon zest. Season to taste.

To make the pasta:

Bring a pot of salted water to boil on the stovetop. Cook pasta according to package directions, then immediately drain, reserving ⅓ cup of pasta water.

Add the pasta back to the pot, along with the pesto and cooking water. Stir, over low heat, until the pesto has thinned out and coats the pasta. Serve, topped with extra Parmesan cheese.


  • The recipe makes more pesto than you’ll use for this dish; you can also use it as a spread on sandwiches, and also thin it out as needed with a little cool water.
  • This pesto is very thick — adding the pasta cooking water thins it out.

P.S. Want some other easy pesto options? Try this Cauliflower Pasta with Pesto or Radish Top Pesto!

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