Friday, July 22, 2011

Mighty Green Pasta with Garlic Scapes and Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce...

You’ll have to excuse the poor quality of the pictures, the lighting in my kitchen at anytime of day is not very good, not ‘photographer’ good anyway, and it’s particularly bad at night. On top of that, on the particular day that I made this recipe I was cooking for a guest, and because the hour was growing late I was in something of a hurry to take the photograph. Don’t let the poor photo quality deter you in any way from trying this dish though, trust me when I say it’s phenomenal. It far exceeded even my wildest expectations.

Now, a note about Garlic Scapes, they are a revelation! I can’t believe I’ve never eaten them before! Now, if you’re like me, and not very familiar with Garlic Scapes, it’s very simple. All they are is the green shoots that grow out of the garlic bulb. In order for the bulb to grow into maturity the scapes have to be removed. Usually they were just tossed away into the garbage or compost, but it seems that some ingenious person decided, "Hey, why don’t I cook them?" and that set the foodie world on fire, as garlic scapes are now quite the in and trendy thing to cook with. Garlic Scape pesto in particular seems to be the hot new dish making the rounds, but since I don’t care much for food fashion or food trends, and I generally approach the foodie elite with scorn and much eye rolling I chose to do something else with them.

Look at all those beautiful Scapes!

Originally I bought the scapes for a soup I planned to make using a recipe from "Super Natural Cooking" however as I didn’t have the recipe on hand I bought six bunches of scapes just to cover my bases. Turns out I only needed three for the soup, and so the other three I decided to stir-fry with various other green vegetables and toss with pasta. It was a wonderful combination, as the scapes have a texture similar to asparagus, and a flavor like mild garlic. Mixed with Lemon and Dill it was a winning combination.

Mighty Green Pasta with Garlic Scapes

1 lb Whole Wheat Spaghetti
2 Tbsp Earth Balance Coconut Butter or non-dairy butter or olive oil (optional)

3 Bunches Garlic scapes (Roughly 24 scapes)
1-2 heads Broccoli chopped into florets (or more to taste)
Roughly ½ lb Shaved Asparagus
½ Yellow Onion cut into half-moons
2-3 large handfuls baby Spinach
1 tsp olive oil

Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce

7 tbsp olive Oil
Half a large bunch of fresh Dill
5 tbsp Lemon Juice (or to taste)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp agave nectar
1-2 cloves garlic
4-5 sprigs fresh Oregano (or more to taste)
1/4 C Mellow White Miso
water to thin as needed
Black pepper and Sea Salt to taste

- Fill a pot with water and set in on the stove to boil. Once boiling cook pasta as directed by package.

- In the meantime trim all the flowers or buds from your garlic scapes. You really only want to use the firm part of the scapes, the bud and the thin wispy curl beyond it you can discard. Once trimmed, cut your scapes in 2-3 inch pieces.

- In a pan heat your tsp of olive oil, add your sliced onions and garlic scapes and cook for 5-10 minutes on medium until onions are translucent and scapes are soft.

- While onions and scapes are sauteeing in oil shave your asparagus. This is a very easy thing to do. All you need is a vegetable peeler. Peel thin strips off of your asparagus spears until you’re only left with the asparagus tops and some nubs. I recommend keeping the nubs and top pieces and tossing them in at this point to soften up a bit.

- Once onions and garlic scapes are softened add in your broccoli florets and saute for another 5-7 minutes until broccoli has softened and turned a bright green. You want to get the broccoli in that perfect stage of doneness. A little crisp but not overly crunchy, so keep an eye on it and keep testing.

- Once Broccoli is softened, reduce heat slightly and add in both the shaved asparagus and spinach. Stirring them both in until the spinach has wilted slightly. Remove from heat.

- By now your pasta should be done, drain it, and return it to the pot with 2 tbsp of Earth Balance Coconut Butter or your favorite non-dairy butter, or oil. (Optional of course) Stir to combine and add in your pan of mixed vegetables. Stirring again until combined.

- To make your sauce, add all of your ingredients into a food processor or high speed blender. (Food processor works great for this so a Vitamix isn’t necessary for those of you who don’t have one) pulse, or blend until sauce is creamy and smooth. Taste for flavor, tartness, and spices and adjust as needed. Then pour the sauce into your pot of pasta and veggies, stir well until all pasta and veg are coated and sauce is well combined. Then distribute amongst plates or bowls and enjoy, perhaps with a small side salad, or a slice of crusty garlic bread. Though it’s entirely suitable on it’s own as well.

*** Note- Garlic Scapes are apparently only available for a shot time each year, between June and July, so if you can’t find them you could always substitute with some additional chopped asparagus in addition to the shaved, some whole green onions, and a few garlic cloves. ***

P.S. Apologies to my good friend C.S, for I promised to post this recipe for you weeks ago and I never did. Better late then never though I suppose right? Peace/Love.


  1. Didn't know you could eat the scapes I have been growing my own garlic for the last 2 seasons, and when the scapes grow I pull the garlic and throw out the scapes and just use the garlic bulb..this was very useful info for me, thanks! ST

  2. I remember this dish & I loved it! I can't wait to try more dishes w/ scapes! - M