Garlic Has Greens and You Should Cook With Them

Garlic Has Greens and You Should Cook With Them

You may have noticed that a serpentine-shaped green vegetable has made its way to your local farmer’s market by the bushel. This time of year, when spring alliums—like green garlic and spring onions—begin to grow into their fully matured selves, garlic scapes make their fleeting appearance at the table. They may look like tangled green cords, but these stalks taste like a unique blend of vegetable and herb and pack a subdued, garlicky flavor into anything they touch.

What are garlic scapes?

Garlic scapes are simply the stalks that grow from a hardneck garlic plant. When they’re harvested before they can flower, more energy can be sent to the garlic bulb. The resulting crop is a sweet and spicy stalk with the texture of asparagus and the flavor of something between garlic and chive. Though the season for garlic scapes is only a few weeks, they have a long shelf life of three to five weeks. Store them by sealing and refrigerating them in a bag with a moist paper towel, or stand them up in a vase or jar that’s partially filled with water as you would freshly cut flowers.

Photo: Sam Palazzi

If you’ve never used garlic scapes, their long spirally stems might feel intimidating to cut into, but start by using them in the same way you would use garlic and then go from there. Dice them and throw them into a chimichurri or compound butter. Rough chop them and mix them into a stir fry. Pulse them into a pesto (recipe below) or a green goddess dressing by substituting four to five scapes per garlic clove. You could also simply use them as an aromatic, or cook them whole, or cook any of the lovely recipes you see below.

Cheddar & Garlic Scape Biscuits

Photo: Sam Palazzi

This savory bake takes all of a half an hour from start to finish. Not to mention, it’s a great way to suspend the flavor of garlic scapes in the fluffy interior of a buttermilk biscuit.


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup diced garlic scapes (about 4-5)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup cold butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 450℉. Finely dice your scapes, making sure to discard the stringy tip and cut end, then combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cut your butter into quarter inch cubes then fold into the dry mixture, pinching the butter until it’s fully coated with the dry mix, but not overworked. You’ll want to make sure not to leave your butter in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it, so that it stays as cold as possible.

Next, stir in buttermilk, scapes, and cheddar cheese until all ingredients are just combined. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead for up to 30 seconds, being careful not to overwork the batter. Roll the batter onto your work surface until it’s shaped into a circle, about an inch and a half high. I chose to cut these into eight wedges–as you would a pizza–to avoid any leftover scraps, but you’re welcome to make circular cutouts with a biscuit cutter or water glass.

Place biscuits on parchment paper, top with more shredded cheddar, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until they just turn golden brown. For double the garlic scape flavor, you can even butter them with a garlic-scape compound butter once they’re fresh out of the oven.

Garlic Scape Butter Basted Shrimp

Photo: Sam Palazzi

Shrimp, butter, garlic scapes, a squeeze of lemon, and a little salt and pepper are all you need to make this dish come together.


  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon diced garlic scapes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of one lemon, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Toss your shrimp in a bowl with salt, pepper, and diced garlic scapes, then set aside. Heat a pan, preferably cast iron, on medium heat until it’s nice and hot, then melt 1 tablespoon of butter until it’s just beginning to brown. Add shrimp and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. We’re looking for an audible sizzle once the shrimp hits the pan to ensure they’re getting the best char in that short amount of time.

After the shrimp are flipped, melt the remaining butter at the bottom of the pan and baste the melted butter over the browned shrimp with a spoon. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and enjoy.

Garlic Scape Pesto Pasta

Photo: Sam Palazzi

The best way to utilize the natural spiciness of garlic scapes is by eating them raw, which is exactly what helps pack so much additional flavor into this pesto. But if you’re looking to tamp down the flavor, another option is to boil your scapes for 1-2 minutes and shock them with cold water under a strainer immediately after, before pulsing.


  • 1 cup garlic scapes, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup pecorino romano cheese
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup basil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound pasta of your choice
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes

Start by pulsing garlic scapes in a food processor for 30 seconds. Add the pine or walnuts and pulse for another 30 seconds. Stir in oil, then pulse the Pecorino Romano cheese, lemon, basil, and salt until all ingredients are combined. Note that Pecorino Romano cheese has a high salt content, so a pinch of salt is often all that’s necessary. This can be made in advance and used on its own for anything you’d use regular pesto for.

Photo: Sam Palazzi

For this pasta dish, boil the pasta of your choice in heavily salted water, about one tablespoon of kosher salt, until it’s al dente, making sure to reserve a cup of pasta water. Spoon a half cup of garlic scape pesto over the drained pasta along with cherry tomatoes, adding and mixing pasta water and any additional pesto until it’s the desired texture. Top with some additional Pecorino Romano cheese.


This article was written by Sam Palazzi from Lifehacker and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to

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