Recipe: Green Garlic Pesto

Organic green garlic growing at Tyrant Farms
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This green garlic pesto recipe can be made with young green garlic leaves or garlic scapes. If you love garlic, you’ll love this recipe! 

Vampire-proof yourself with the best green garlic pesto you’ll ever eat

Fresh green garlic pesto made with heirloom hard-necked garlic grown on Tyrant Farms

Fresh green garlic pesto made from young hardneck garlic grown on Tyrant Farms. Green garlic inserted in top for comedic effect and to show you what green garlic leaves look like.

We grow and eat a LOT of heirloom hardneck garlic here at Tyrant Farms. If you want to learn more about hardneck garlic and how to grow it, read our article A love story: why and how to grow hardneck garlic

Hardneck garlic enjoying late winter sun.

Hardneck garlic enjoying late winter sun.

What is green garlic?

We’ve been “naturalizing” patches of hardneck garlic throughout our gardens over the years. That simply means we don’t pull up the bulbs when they’d normally be harvested in the summer. Rather we intentionally leave some of them to split and create new garlic plants for the following year. 

Over the course of a growing season, each garlic clove forms a new bulb. Over the course of several years, what started as a single garlic clove can become a nice patch of garlic as it continues to split.

Green garlic chopped, measured, and ready to be turned into green garlic pesto!

Green garlic chopped, measured, and ready to be turned into green garlic pesto!

From late winter through early spring, the young tender greens and bulbs of these garlic plants can be harvested and used as “green garlic.” Keep in mind that if you pull the whole plant, you’ll kill the plant — which is fine if you’re thinning a patch. Otherwise, you can just trim as many leaves as you need for a recipe.

So if you’ve ever wondered what green garlic is, now you know!

What are garlic scapes? 

You can use either green garlic or garlic scapes in this recipe. Garlic scapes are the young, immature flower stalks that hardneck garlic plants send up as the weather warms. 

In order to force the plants to form bigger underground bulbs, you snap the garlic scapes off of the plants. These are NOT a waste product. In fact, garlic scapes are considered a delicacy and coveted by high-end restaurants/chefs.

Garlic-Lovers Dream: Green Garlic Pesto 

Gather the ingredients! It's green garlic pesto time.

Gather the ingredients! It’s green garlic pesto time.

Organic green garlic growing at Tyrant Farms

Green garlic pesto

Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword: garlic pesto, garlic scapes, green garlic, green garlic pesto
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Author: Aaron von Frank

A garlic-lover's dream! This delicious, easy-to-make green garlic pesto recipe can be made with either young green garlic or garlic scapes. 


  • 1 cup young heirloom hard-necked green garlic plants (or garlic scapes)
  • 1/4 cup white wine (we use an Albariño)
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 juice of fresh squeezed lemon
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Cut your garlic into chunks 2" or smaller. (Don't use the roots.) Use the premature bulbs and tender green leaves. Set aside the tough leaf tips or outer leaves for soup stock. 

  2. Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend on high until uniform texture. Taste before removing to make sure it's perfect for your tastes. Add more nuts  for richness. Add more cheese for more creaminess/umami flavor. Add more wine or lemon juice for more acid. Add more olive oil for smoother blend. 

  3. Serve on pasta or as a dip on veggies, flat bread, and more. There's no wrong way to eat green garlic pesto! 

Green garlic pesto is the perfect match for our whole wheat flatbread.

Green garlic pesto is the perfect match for our whole wheat flatbread.

Where can you get hardneck garlic bulbs to grow your own?

We’d like to encourage you to grow your own heirloom garlic varieties to help preserve these wonderful plants. 

Where can you buy hardneck garlic? Our two favorite sources are:

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  • Reply
    Gerry Fortain
    April 30, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I love making a variation of the dish Steak DeBurgo using a couple of tournedos of beef tenderloin. I rub the tournedos of beef with freshly minced garlic and pan fry them in olive oil and butter until medium rare. Remove to a plate and deglaze the pan with cognac and beef stock. Then I add more minced garlic, a little red wine, pepper and cream. Add a few mushroom caps at this point and reduce the pan sauce to half. Salt to taste. Place the tournedos on a couple of slices of what else? Garlic toast. Then pour the sauce and mushrooms over the steaks and enjoy.

    I like your site very much.

    • Reply
      April 30, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      Gerry, that sounds incredible. We’re going to have to try to make this. Two questions: do you think venison or elk would go well in that dish, and 2) what type of mushrooms do you recommend? Thanks!

      • Reply
        Gerry Fortain
        May 1, 2013 at 8:41 pm

        Venison or elk sounds great. I would marinate the game with some red wine (and garlic) in a re-sealable bag for 6 to 8 hours to tenderize it. I usually use moonlight mushroom caps but if you have access to some wild morels I think it might complement the game nicely.

        • Aaron
          May 2, 2013 at 11:21 am

          Gerry: We’re going to give this recipe a shot in June with some bicolored bolete mushrooms that will really stand up to red meat & garlic (it takes a special mushroom to do that). Thanks for the tip and please stay in touch – sounds like you have a passion for food that’s comparable to ours!

        • Gerry Fortain
          May 2, 2013 at 6:22 pm

          My pleasure. Enjoy life!

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