After months of waiting for something – anything – other than salad greens and root vegetables to show up at the market, new produce is finally starting to roll into the farm stands. We’ve gone from having nearly nothing available to having so much produce come in, I can hardly keep up with all the canning! So far, I’ve canned over 16 pounds of strawberries, frozen 4 pints of chives and processed 2 pounds of garlic scapes into pesto. This week, I plan on picking some more strawberries, a few sweet cherries and possibly some sugar snap peas as well. I love this part of summer!
Usually, pesto recipes call for pine nuts. But have you tried to buy pine nuts at the store lately? They are crazy expensive – usually more than $25/pound. While they are delicious, I just can’t justify the cost when I’m processing pounds of basil or garlic scapes at a time. I used to leave them out entirely when I made garlic scape pesto, but the end result was usually a little too sharp and spicy, and it was missing something texture-wise. So instead, I’ve subbed in sunflower seeds – it adds a little meaty crunch to give the pesto more substance, and helps mellow out the flavor a bit.
The Parmesan cheese and sunflower seeds serve to mellow out the sharp tang of the garlic scapes, resulting in a slightly spicy and very flavorful pesto. Serve it over pasta, mix it into a grain salad, or enjoy it with chicken.
- 1/2 pound garlic scapes
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Chop the scapes into 3" pieces. Pulse them in a food processor a few times.
- Add the olive oil, Parmesan, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, salt and process until the pesto forms a coarse paste.
Make Ahead and Storage
To freeze the pesto, pack the pesto into 1/2 pint jars, leaving 1/2" of headspace at the top. Pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top, just enough to cover the pesto. Put the lid on the jars and freeze.