Kalyn's Kitchen

Garlic Scape Pesto with Chard

Garlic Scape Pesto with Chard is a delicious combination of ingredients, without the too-garlicky flavor that garlic scape pesto can sometimes have! 

PIN Garlic Scape Pesto with Chard to try it later!

Chard and Garlic Scape Pesto found on KalynsKitchen.com

Back in 2006 I discovered garlic scapes and made some Garlic Scape Pesto. I liked the garlic scape pesto well enough, but garlic scapes are such a strongly-flavored ingredient that this year when my friend Margarethe gave me some garlic scapes that she’d gotten in her CSA box, I thought it would be fun to try mixing them in pesto with something else.

I first thought of kale, but when I went out into the garden the chard was calling out to me, and I thought this Garlic Scape Pesto with Chard was a perfect combination. I like it on pasta, but I’ve also been mixing a few tablespoons into scrambled eggs when they’re nearly cooked and it would also be delicious mixed into soup. If you don’t have garlic scapes, I’d still try chard pesto made with minced garlic, which I think would also be a nice blend of flavors.

What are Garlic Scapes?

Garlic Scapes are long green shoots that grow out of the top or hardneck garlic, and they’re a delicacy that shows up in the spring.

Garlic Scape Pesto with Chard process shots collage

How to Make Garlic Scape Pesto with Chard

  1. If you’re not familiar with garlic scapes, the first photo shows what they look like.
  2. I used a cup of chopped garlic scapes. I wanted them cut into short lengths before I put them in the food processor.
  3. It took 2-3 minutes in the food processor before I felt the scapes were chopped enough to start adding other things.
  4. The chard was from my garden, so I chopped it up and gave it a good wash in the salad spinner.
  5. I processed the scapes/chard about 2 minutes more.
  6. Then I added the lemon juice, pine nuts, and olive oil and processed about 2 minutes more.
  7. Last I added the Parmesan cheese and processed about another minute.
  8. I froze the pesto in a mini muffin tin, and then when it was frozen I transferred the cubes to a Ziploc bag.  
  9. Have fun thinking of interesting ways to use your Chard and Garlic Scape Pesto!

Chard and Garlic Scape Pesto found on KalynsKitchen.com

This pesto is good on pasta, stirred into rice, on cooked vegetables, stirred into scrambled eggs or added to soup. And check out my Salute to Swiss Chard for more Swiss Chard ideas!

More Recipes for Garlic Scapes:

7 Things to do with Garlic Scapes ~ Serious Eats
Pickled Garlic Scapes ~ Foodie with Family
Pickled Cukes and Garlic Scapes ~ Healthy Green Kitchen
Scrambled Eggs with Oyster Mushrooms and Garlic Scapes ~ Barefeet in the Kitchen
Brie and Garlic Scape Pizza ~ Love and Olive Oil

Chard and Garlic Scape Pesto found on KalynsKitchen.com

Garlic Scape Pesto with Chard 

Yield 12 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Garlic Scape Pesto with Chard is not too-garlicky, and it's a delicious combination of ingredients.


  • 1 cup chopped garlic scapes
  • 4 cups chopped Swiss Chard leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste (I used about 2 tsp. salt)


  1. Wash and dry garlic scapes; then cut into short lengths until you have one cup of chopped scapes.
  2. Wash, dry, and chop Swiss Chard until you have 4 cups chopped chard.
  3. Add garlic scapes to the food processor and process until they are starting to look finely chopped, about 2-3 minutes.  (It took longer than I thought it would.)
  4. Add chard and process the mixture about 2 minutes more, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and pine nuts and process about 2 minutes more.
  6. Add Parmesan and process 1-2 minutes more, or until the pesto reaches the texture you prefer.
  7. I like to keep it slightly chunky.
  8. I froze the pesto in a mini muffin tin and then popped out the cubes and stored them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer.  You can also freeze pesto in ice cube trays or small plastic containers with a snap-tight lid.
  9. This pesto is good on pasta, stirred into rice, on cooked vegetables, stirred into scrambled eggs or added to soup.  You could also use it as a green sauce on grilled fish or chicken.


To make this recipe you will need a food processor. There are many good brands, but I love my Cuisinart Food Processor. (affiliate link)

Nutritional information is calculated on 1/4 cup serving size.

Recipe created by Kalyn.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 217Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 456mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Suggestions:
Pesto is a calorie-dense and high-fat food due to the cheese, but it’s not something you’d eat in huge amounts and I would eat this for any type of low-carb or low-glycemic diet and probably  for any phase of the original South Beach Diet. Try it over grilled veggies, grilled chicken, or grilled fish for a low-carb meal.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Sauces Index to find more recipes like this one! Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Pinterest image of Chard and Garlic Scape Pesto

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    39 Comments on “Garlic Scape Pesto with Chard”

  1. Pingback: Lemon and Swiss Chard Orecchiette

  2. It never occurred to me to put chard in my garlic scape pesto but it is honestly brilliant! It seems like it might cut back on some of the sharp garlicky flavour from pure scapes!

  3. Wow! How did you know garlic scapes and chard would come together in my CSA share?! I froze this and was licking the bowl imagining the pasta, pizza, panini, etc. I will use this pesto in. Great idea!

  4. Kalyn,
    Thank you for sharing this recipe with me for my Garlic Scape Recipe Round Up! It's now live, and I'm so inspired I cannot wait for my scapes to appear.
    You can see the round up here: http://www.farmfreshfeasts.com/2014/05/28-recipes-using-garlic-scapes-recipe.html or Pin it for later: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/316659417522383833/

  5. This recipe looks fantastic! I am actually hosting a garlic scapes linky party at 2 Sisters 2 Cities as part of our Fresh Produce Tuesday series. I would love if you submitted this recipe!


  6. Jeanette, that sounds like a good idea. My chard was pretty young with small leaves (the quail ate my first planting of chard!) so it was pretty mild. But I might try that next time.

  7. Great idea – freezing these in small portions, perfect for stir-fries and soups later on. I made some swiss chard garlic scape pesto this summer but blanched the swiss chard a little bit just to reduce the oxalic acid that is present in raw swiss chard. Loved how it made the pesto a bit milder.

  8. Maureen, hope you enjoy the pesto as much as you did the Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake!

  9. I am so excited to know what to do with those garlic scapes. Can't wait to try it. Also like the idea of the muffin tin.
    Hope ok to mention here that I made the Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake and now that is my favorite zucchini dish. Such wonderful flavors!

  10. Barbara, the garlic scapes are kind of a cross between strong onion and garlic I'd say. Glad you like the idea of the muffin tin.

  11. I love this idea of freezing pesto in mini muffin tins. I have never eaten garlic scapes but the colour is gorgeous.

  12. Harriette, I was not ignoring you, lol! I don't know why it takes so long for Comcast to get the comments to my e-mail. Glad you like the recipe.

  13. Scott, you're so sweet. I got the idea from kale pesto someone mentioned, but when I went to pick kale I ended up deciding on chard!

  14. Great stuff Thanks for sharing.

  15. Very rare that I'm surprised by a pesto recipe these days Kalyn, but you always manage to outdo yourself!

  16. I agree about the short season. Seems like I just remember what to do with them, and the garlic scapes are gone!

  17. Garlic scape pesto is an all-time favorite of mine. I just wish the garlic scape season was a little longer! I make it like typical pesto with pine nuts, grated asiago and Parmesan cheese, lemon, olive oil and freshly ground sea salt. I haven't tried it mixed with other greens. Good idea!