I was late to the game when it came to Garlic scapes for garlic scape pestoboth garlic scapes and grilled pizza, but last summer I finally figured out both, and they make the perfect pairing for an early summer dinner.

I’ve been waiting for garlic scapes—the curly tops of garlic that get cut off in late spring/early summer—to appear, and recently CISA told me it was time. I don’t grow garlic (yet). Somehow in the bustle of fall, I never manage to plant garlic . I’m determined to change that this year but for now, I have no scapes of my own. I pick them up at a farmer’s market or the local co-op.

Garlic scape pesto is bright green with a bright garlic taste. It’s easy to make and stores well. Both the color and the flavor will mellow a little if it’s cooked as it is on pizza.

Garlic Scape Pesto

  • 1/2 lb. garlic scapes
  • 1/3 c. lemon juice (from about one medium lemon), or more to taste
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino romano cheese
  1. Roughly chop the garlic scapes and put them in the bowl of your food processor. Add the oil and lemon juice.
  2. Run the processor until you have a fairly smooth puree. It will be rougher than a traditional pesto, but you don’t want huge chunks in it.
  3. Add the cheese and pulse briefly or stir in by hand.
  4. Taste. Add more cheese or lemon juice if needed. If the pesto is too thick add a bit more olive oil.

Garlic scape pesto is great on crackers, toasted bread, pasta—and grilled pizza.

Like I said, it took me a while to figure out grilled pizza. How do you get the pizza onto the grill? Won’t the dough just fall through the grate of the grill? I finally read about it, realized it wasn’t that hard, and got mildly obsessed with it last year.

Grilled Pizza

  1. Start with your favorite dough. Roll or stretch it into an individual pizza size (too big and it gets hard to handle). Do not roll the edge—the dough should be flat from side to side. Sprinkle a pizza peel or the bottom of a cookie sheet with corn meal and place the dough on it.
  2. Prep all your toppings and have them grill side.
  3. Heat the grill and brush with olive oil. Slide the dough onto the hot grill and close the cover. DO not walk away. Grill for about 2 minutes. Seriously—it’s quick.
  4. Use tongs or a spatula to remove the crust from the grill and place it cooked side up on your cookie sheet. Cover the grill again to keep it hot.
  5. Spread sauce or better yet, garlic scape pesto, (go lightly so the pizza isn’t soggy) on the crust. Add cheese and tgarlic scape pesto pizza, early summer dinneroppings (again go lightly, especially with wetter ingredients).
  6. Slide the topped pizza back onto the grill and close the cover again. Lower the heat and cook for another 2–3 minutes and dinner is ready. Enjoy!

I used garlic scape pesto, basil Italian sausage from our local market, and roasted tomatoes for my pizza. The girls had sauce, mozzarella, sausage, and pepperoni. We had salad on the side, because the garden is really cranking out greens and the radishes are begging to be picked.

Welcome, summer!