Garlic Scape Pizza

A version of this post was originally published on Honest Cooking

Each year, a few weeks before the bulbs are ready to be harvested, the garlic plant sends up a single tall shoot with a tapered flower bud at the end, which curls over on itself as it continues to grow.  Left to its own devices, it will eventually straighten and flower.  But to force the plant to focus its energy on big plump cloves rather than showy flowers, the scapes (stem and all) are snipped off.  Luckily for us, they are also deliciously garlicky in their own right.

As we are growing garlic in our backyard for the second time this year, I had a half pound of these bright green shoots to play with.  I wanted to do something else besides the default pesto preparation, especially as I wanted a full meal for my efforts.  And I also needed something I could pull together easily and quickly.

Pizza, of course, fit the bill perfectly. When does it not?  Pizza gave me a chance to play around a bit, and also showcase the unusual curling stalks and tapering bud-like tip of this unusual vegetable (or whatever it is, exactly).


Before baking, I gently sauteed the scapes in olive oil until the bright green hue deepened and intensified.  I then made sure to complement them with another intense flavor–although scapes smell just as garlicky as you’d expect, they mellow substantially when cooked so I didn’t want to leave them to stand on their own.  I used preserved lemon (for a bright kick of aromatic citrus) and prosciutto (for a savory, meaty twist), but plenty of other options abound.

The result is a unique, but easy to love, pizza. The scapes coil dramatically, the tips crisp up, the whole package satisfies. Try your own hand at it.  But don’t wait too long!  Summer is always too short, and scape season even shorter.

Garlic Scape Pizza
  • Pizza Dough (your favorite recipe, I used Mark Bittman’s)

Preserved Lemon and Mozzarella Variation

  • olive oil
  • 4 ounces (115g) garlic scapes
  • 4 ounces (115g) mozzarella
  • 2 chopped quarters of a preserved lemon, (rind only, rinsed)
  • grated parmesan
  • pepper

Prosciutto variation

  • olive oil
  • 4 ounces (115g) garlic scapes
  • 4 ounces (115g) prosciutto
  • 1 chopped quarter of a preserved lemon (rind only, rinsed)–optional
  • grated parmesan
  • pepper

Prepare pizza dough according to your favorite pizza recipe. About a half hour before baking, preheat the oven to its hottest setting (500F or higher).

Rinse the garlic scapes and pat dry. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil. When hot, add the scapes and sprinkle with salt. Turn heat to medium and sautee for 5-10 minutes, until the garlic scapes turn deep green. Remove from heat.


Arrange either mozzarella or prosciutto over the dough.  Place the scapes, all in a clump, on top and flatten the mound to evenly cover the surface.  Scatter the preserved lemon over the pizza, if using. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the pizza dough is crusty and cooked through.

Prep time does not include dough. Use your favorite recipe. I used my taken on Mark Bittman’s basic pizza dough, with a 1:3 mix of whole wheat and bread flour.

Instead of preserved lemons, try olives or anchovies or another intense, briny flavor. Or play up the garlic theme with roasted garlic.

If you have a pizza stone, assemble the pizza on parchment paper so you can easily slide it onto your pizza peel and then into the oven. (If you don’t have a pizza peel, use the back of a baking sheet or a rimless baking sheet).

Finally, if you have your own garlic patch, you’ll see it’s incredibly easy to harvest your scapes.  But there’s no reason not to round up some helpers!


11 thoughts on “Garlic Scape Pizza

  1. Pingback: Garlic Scape Pizza | Three Clever Sisters |

  2. What a lovely helper you’ve got there 🙂
    I used to buy garlic scapes at the farmer’s market in Edinburgh and mainly used them in stir-fries. I’m not sure why I haven’t picked any now – I’ve got plenty of garlic outside.

    • I let one go unpicked just to see what would happen…maybe you will have soon a lovely array of garlic flowers! I have no clue what they will look like but other alliums can have some beautiful blooms.

  3. I adore discovering the recipes using the unusual parts of plants. Thank you for this enlightening post and the delicious pizza recipe!
    I must say that as a tiny balcony garden space I even didn’t know garlic scapes existed! (I have never seen them on my market either!).
    Thanks for teaching me a new word in English 😉

  4. I only tried using garlic scapes once, and I don’t think I prepared them properly. This pizza looks fantastic, and it’s making me think I need to give scapes another try.

    • Thanks! The first time I tried them I wasn’t seeing what the big deal was. I think they are so much milder than garlic that I was expecting something stronger and didn’t season accordingly.

  5. Pingback: Tuna and Flageolet Bean Salad with Garlic Scapes | Three Clever SistersThree Clever Sisters

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