Garlic Scapes: My New Best Friend

How did I not know about these tangly, green shoots of garlicky goodness?

I’m a huge garlic junkie (basically every meal I make has garlic in it in some form) so discovering that there was another source to get my fix was quite a delight.

Here is your anatomy lesson: Garlic grows underground as a bulb where it is soft and onion-like at the beginning of its journey. As the bulb grows it begins to harden (becoming more like the garlic we know) and a shoot pokes its way through the ground. This, my friends, is the stage of growth where the green and gorgeous garlic scape tendrils make their market debut. Keeping the shoot attached limits the growth of the vampire’s nemesis so farmers get a two-fer by cutting off the shoots. Inevitably, this is great news for a garlic lover.

The loopy, green stems taste good and are good for you. Scapes (code-word usage here) contain a fair amount of protein and fiber plus offer the same health benefits as the cloves such as prevention of heart disease, high blood pressure or cancer. The early summer delicacy is also known to boost your immune system and reduce inflammation.

Garlic scapes have a lot less bite than their other half so you can feel free to kiss your kitchen mate without popping in a breath mint! The curly offshoots have the texture and color of a green bean so they are a fun addition to any meal. The amazingly tasty vegetable can be used in recipes wherever you would normally use garlic. Get cooking with these:

  • Apparently the garlic scapes home away from the farm is in to pulverize them into a pesto. Spread this on toast, for a pizza base or toss it with pasta for a garlic lover’s nirvana.
  • The curly corkscrew greens are a must have for grilling season! Sprinkle with olive oil and a little S&P. My George Forman is sizzling with delight already.
  • Since garlic scapes are fresh and light they are delicious raw. Chop them up into small pieces and add them to your summer salad with this scape dressing.
  • Enjoy garlic scapes, in all their glory, in this double garlic soup. I know soup in summer sounds unfathomable, but just envision the flavors on a cooler day…plus you can freeze the leftovers!
  • As if you need another veggie dip to add to your repertoire…I just can’t stop. Dip into this creamy garlic scape dip.
  • Add garlic scapes to your morning omelet for the fleeting taste of summer.

These guys are cute, tasty, versatile…what more do you need to know?!  Welcome the garlic tops into your kitchen. I am sure you will promptly fall in love.

What is your favorite “gone in a blink of an eye” seasonal food? Have you ever eaten garlic scapes? Share in the comments section below!

Feature photo courtesy of Leeks ‘N’ Bounds via Flickr (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Photo 2 courtesy of timsackton via Flickr (CC BY-SA 3.0)


  1. I’ve had these and yet never knew what they were called! We have a farmer who sells them with the bulb still attached as well – loving cooking up the bulb then throwing chopped up “scapes” on top!

  2. No Way! I am growing garlic in my garden this year. I have never grown it before and know nothing about it except that I love it and love cooking with it. Thanks for the growing lesson. Here, I thought I just had to plop them in the ground!

  3. Great photo! I discovered these a few years ago. My sister named them garlic greens & I’m seriously obsessed with them! It’s a late spring highlight to cut mine from my mini garden patch. I love the flavor!

    I use them in place of green onions….stir fry, on a baked potato, on a salad and so on.

  4. Not available in my big box grocers, so I’m definitely looking forward to scouring farmers’ markets for these! Love hoarding seasonal produce to mix up the menu ~ thanks for the variety of uses!


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