Garden Fresh Pesto
Garden Pesto is simple to make and tastes delicious on pasta, pizza, sandwiches, and chicken. Unlike conventional pesto, this recipe is mainly made from fresh ingredients straight from the summer garden, and therefore is nut free!
In my garden this summer some of the first vegetables ready for harvest were basil, spinach and garlic scapes. I wanted to make use of my produce, and I had heard of basil pesto, spinach pesto and garlic scape pesto so I decided to make up my own recipe combining all three!
Since I wanted to make a pesto that was farm fresh, this recipe uses basil, spinach, and garlic scape along with only a few other pantry staples. Also, this recipe is great for serving to guests since it is dairy and nut free, unlike most pestos that are made with pine nuts, walnuts or other nuts.
The fresh greens in this recipe give the pesto a fresh flavour that brightens up so many different foods.
What Are Garlic Scapes?
Likely you have heard of basil and spinach, but garlic scapes may be new to you. There are two main types of garlic, hard neck and soft neck. After hard neck garlic has been growing for a few months it will begin to put up shoots called scapes.
Each garlic plant puts up one scape from the top of the leaves. If left alone the tip of the scape would bloom into a flower. However, it is good to harvest the scape for a few reasons. One, the scapes are TASTY and two, pruning off the scape allows the plant to put more energy into growing the bulb of garlic.
Some other ways to use garlic scapes besides delicious pesto is in place of green onions in recipes, in stir fries, fried rice, or in place of garlic cloves.
How To Use Garden Pesto
There are many different ways to enjoy this garden pesto.
My favourite is to spread the pesto on a slice of bread or bagel, top it with some cheese, toast it in the oven, then serve it as a side with soup or in place of garlic bread.
Here are a few other ways to use pesto:
- On baked chicken or fish
- As a pizza sauce
- As pasta sauce or added to a cream sauce
- As a sandwich spread, in place of mayo
- To flavour roasted vegetables
- As a seasoning for rice
How To Store Pesto
Once made, I put the pesto in a mason jar and store it in the fridge. This pesto should stay fresh in the fridge for a week or two. For storing long term put the pesto into the freezer in jars or containers. For individual portions freeze the pesto in ice cube trays.
Since garlic scapes are only in season for a short time, you may need to substitute them when making this recipe at other times of the year. Garlic scapes have a more mild garlic flavour than garlic bulbs do, therefore you can substitute the scraps for a few cloves of garlic.
Switch out the ½ cup of garlic scapes for 3 cloves of garlic. Since all garlic cloves are different sizes start with a few, taste and add more as needed.
Most pesto recipes call for parmesan cheese, however I wanted to keep this recipe as garden fresh as possible and dairy free, so I did not include it in the ingredients. However, cheese does add a nice flavour to pesto, so if you would like you can add a few dashes of parmesan before serving.
Garden Pesto Ingredients:
½ cup chopped garlic scapes
1 cup packed spinach
1 cup packed basil
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
Garden Pesto Directions:
1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender.
2. Blend until chopped and combined.
*Avoid over blending, since this will result in a very liquid pesto.
That is it! Use the pesto in a meal or place in a container and store in the fridge.
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Hey, I’m Maggie. I hope you will join me and my family in getting back to the land. Here you will learn about making things yourself, cooking homegrown food, and beginning a homesteading journey.