quinoa with garlic scape pesto and basil

This week I discovered two things! Garlic scape and quinoa. 

I know most of you can overlook my lack of familiarity with garlic scape. It's not common, and its availability is short, usually a few week period between spring and summer.

But quinoa? Shame on me, right!? It seems most gluten-free eaters find quinoa early on. Its a great substitute for couscous (which I used to adore), and is amazingly versatile. 

Now we've used quinoa flour in the bakery, and I'm pretty sure I've had quinoa-based tabbouleh once or twice... so it's not like I've never had quinoa before. But I'd certininly not cooked with it. Back at the Nourished Food Blogger Conference, I had the pleasure of meeting the queen of quinoa herself, Alyssa. I was intrigued by her passion for quinoa and vowed to give it a go once I returned home. 

My other discovery of garlic scape came one night when Patrick presented me with a bouquet of long thin curling stems, their blossoms tightly closed. "A gift from one of the farmer's market vendors," he said handing the bundle to me. The scape (scapes?) which grows as stems out of garlic bulbs definitely had the same pungent garlicy smell, but were woodier in texture. Most recipes puree it finely in the food processor or steep the stems whole to impart flavor to a liquid. 

I ended up making garlic scape pesto with bulk of it, flattening it out in ziploc bags and freezing it. I pureed the remainder of what was left in the food processor with a can of garbonzo beans, a squirt of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Real life moment, the dip ended up as dinner. It was too darn tasty! 

The next night I made this qunioa and threw in blobs of the garlic scape pesto. I thought the pecans and asiago I'd used in the pesto would enhance the slight nuttiness of the qunioa. I grabbed some fresh basil from the garden for a quick chiffonade, and then grated even more asiago. I sprinkled both on top just before serving. It was amazing. I'm a total believer now in both garlic scape and quinoa. I'm officially on the bandwagon. 

garlic scape pesto
Serves: 4
  • 10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely grated asiago
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Squeeze of 1/2 a lemon
  • Sea salt
  • Grated black pepper
  1. Put the scapes, cheese, pecans, lemon juice, and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mostly blended, then add the remainder of the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Store pesto in flattened zip lock backs. When you are ready to use it, simple break off a portion and let it thaw. 

quinoa with garlic scape pesto and basil
Serves: 2
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup garlic scape pesto
  • Sea salt
  • Grated black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated asiago
  • 3 tablespoons basil chiffonade
  1. Place chicken broth and quinoa in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic scape pesto. Cover and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the remaining liquid has been absorbed. 
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with grated cheese and basil and serve!

Can't get enough? Here are even more fabulous garlic scape recipes!

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