Have you ever tried cooking with garlic scapes? They’re the beautiful, tentacle-shaped flower stems of the garlic plant and they pack a strong flavor punch. I was a bit thrown off by them at first because they can be tough and fibrous. But a little experimentation was all I needed to become a fan. Garlic scapes are wonderful when sliced thin and sautéed with vegetables. They also make an excellent base for pesto.
This pesto is very strong by itself, which is why I like to combine a few tablespoons with an avocado to create a creamy pasta sauce. The avocado softens the intensity of the garlic flavor and creates a smooth coating for pasta. It’s a lovely, light vegetarian dinner option.
- 1 cup chopped garlic scapes
- ¼ cup fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil
- ½ cup packed arugula
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- ½ cup pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound pasta of choice (I used thin spaghetti)
- 1 ripe avocado
- 3 tablespoons garlic scape pesto
- ½ cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- To prepare the pesto, combine the garlic scapes, mint, basil, arugula, salt and pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are all chopped and then scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the machine running, add the olive oil until the ingredients are combined.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook to pasta according to package instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, add the avocado, 3 tablespoons pesto, almond milk, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a blender. Puree until smooth.
- Drain the pasta, reserving about ¼ cup of pasta water. Toss the cooked pasta together with the avocado pesto sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add the reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.
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