Side Dishes/ Vegetables

How to Cook Garlic Scapes (with Kale)

In mid-March, worried the pandemic would close all the farmer’s markets, I bought a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share from a local organic farm. A few weeks ago, I picked up my first box of CSA produce. It contained strawberries, lettuce, kale and garlic scapes, which look like curled up scallions with a small bulb at one end.

I’d never cooked garlic scapes before, although I’d spotted them in the farmer’s market. I chopped them up, and sautéed them in olive oil with kale. My expectations were low, but I was surprised by the delicious mild flavor of the garlic scapes and how well they paired with kale.

This week my CSA share contained not one, but two large bunches of kale plus another bunch of garlic scapes. Undaunted, I cooked them both and served them for dinner. Normally, kale elicits groans from my family, but this time, they ate the garlicy kale all up.

Chop up garlic scapes the way you cut up green onions. I put the curved pieces together, which makes it easier to cut them evenly. You can sauté or braise the garlic scapes and kale, as you wish. I do both. I also made this dish with a bunch of spinach from my CSA.  It was delicious too, and required less cooking time.

Springhouse Turtle Eats

How to Cook Garlic Scapes (with Kale)

By Springhouse Turtle Serves: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutee Cooking Time: 5-10 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

Garlic scapes look like curvy green onions, but their flavor is garlicy, mild and delicious. Sauté or braise them with kale or spinach or mix them into stir-fries.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch garlic scapes, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 bunch kale (curly or flat), thick stems removed and torn into bite-size pieces (about 3-4 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch pepper
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth (see NOTE)



In a saucepan with a lid large enough to hold the kale, heat the oil over medium-high heat


Sauté the garlic scapes for 1 minute


Stir in the kale, and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.


Sauté for 1 minute, until the kale is coated with oil.


Stir in 1/4 cup chicken broth, cover, turn the heat down to a simmer, and cook for about 5-10 minutes (longer for tough kale).


Uncover and stir until most of the liquid is gone, and the kale is soft but not mushy.


Serve immediately.


You can sauté the kale instead of braising it. Omit the chicken broth, cover, and cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Uncover and continue to stir until the kale is soft. Serve immediately.

Garlic scapes look like curvy green onions, minus the white parts. They have a small bulb on one end.

Putting the curved parts together makes it easier to chop the garlic scapes, which are tougher than green onions.

Cut them into small pieces.

Either curly or flat kale will work fine with this recipe.

Tear the leaves off the stiff stems, then tear the kale into bite-sized pieces.

Heat the olive oil in a deep saucepan with a lid.

Add the garlic scapes, and sauté for 1 minute.

Stir in the kale, salt and pepper.

Sauté the kale until it’s coated with oil, then stir in 1/4 cup of chicken broth. Cover, and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover, and stir until the liquid disappears, and the kale is soft but not mushy.

Serve immediately.

Springhouse Turtle Eats


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