With Springtime here and gardens getting planted, this is one of my all-time favorite late spring treats. I am so looking forward to having some garlic scapes. Did you know that when you plant garlic and you see those long, ropey, green things that resemble the tops of green onions shooting up from the ground that you can eat them? They are garlic scapes and are all the rage in the cooking scene. Their season is oh, so short, the demand geat, so count yourself fortunate if you have some in your garden or you spot them in the grocery store! The scape is the green part of the garlic plant that shoots up from the bulb in the ground. Not so many years ago they were just lopped off and thrown away. But now we know that when they are young and tender they are divine. With a slightly milder garlicky flavor and more earthy tasting than the garlic clove, the humble garlic scape makes a delicious pesto. They can also be chopped up and used in any way you use regular garlic cloves - raw in a salad, for stir fries, in tomato sauce or perhaps in a batch of hummus. Most pestos contain parmesan cheese, so how do you get that cheesy flavor in a whole-food, plant-based version? With nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a very healthy deactivated yeast packed with B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein. You can find it at Whole Foods or in health and natural food stores. It does not in any way resemble or taste like brewers yeast or bread yeast. It is a yellow flake (use the flake kind not the powder if possible) that dissolves into the food you add it to imparting that cheese-nut flavor. If you can't find nutritional yeast in your local store, you can buy it online here.
Garlic Scape Pesto Serves 6
1 cup chopped garlic scapes (about 9 scapes cut into 1/2 inch pieces) 1/3 cup raw walnuts
2-4 tablespoons water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (see Note)
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb whole grain pasta of choice
Place scapes and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor or high powered blender and whirl until well combined (about 30 seconds). With motor running, slowly drizzle in just enough water to make a paste. It will not require more than 1/4 cup. Stop machine and add the nutritional yeast and salt. Process until incorporated.
Cook your pasta of choice according to package directions. Place a heaping tablespoon of pesto in each of six large pasta serving bowls or plates. Drain pasta when cooked and divide between the six bowls. Stir to combine. Serve at once.
Note: If you can't find nutritional yeast in your local store, you can buy it online here.