By KD Angle-Traegner, Founder & Editor
Have you ever seen an elephant garlic scape? They’re incredibly beautiful.
They’re long and thin with a tear-shaped flower bud at its tip. There’s an eclectic little health food store not too far from where I live that regularly sells small batches of uncommon locally-grown vegetables or fruits. Recently, I ran into this gorgeous bunch of elephant garlic scapes, which I had never seen before.
I had to buy them.
So, what is a scape?
A scape comes from the garlic plant. In early to mid-June, a garlic plant will send up a stalk from the center of the plant called the garlic scape. The scape, if left on the plant, will form the flower and then go to seed.
I let a few of my elephant garlic scapes go to flower and look how beautiful they are:
They’re like mini versions of themselves. Newer flowers are white, while older flowers are purple.
Removing the scape allows the plant to put all of it’s energy into increasing the garlic bulb size instead. Scapes can be used just like garlic, though they aren’t as strong as a garlic clove. Elephant garlic scapes are the scapes from the elephant garlic plant.
I brought my elephant garlic scapes home and after I washed them, I trimmed the bottoms and placed them in a mason jar filled with a bit of water to keep them fresh until I was ready to use them. Since I’ve never used elephant garlic scapes before, I had to do a bit of searching for inspiration. I didn’t find much on elephant garlic scapes, so I resorted to experimenting.
Which is more fun anyway, right?
I cut off a small piece of the elephant garlic scape and ate it raw to get a sense of what it tasted like. They look a little like large chives, so I expected them to taste like a chive or leek-and they do-but with a more intense flavor. They aren’t unpleasantly onion-y or garlic-y, rather they have a distinct garlic essence which I really liked.
I decided to use them the same way I would chives. Using nutty quinoa as my base, I paired my elephant garlic scapes with earthy mushrooms, fresh dill, and bright lemon juice. Together they create a fresh summer dish that can be eaten warm or cold.
Incredibly versatile, you can pack this dish in a picnic or a lunch box, eat it as a side dish or on top of chopped greens for a main meal. If you can’t find elephant garlic scapes, substitute them for chives or thinly sliced leeks.
Got questions? Ask me in the comments. Did you make this recipe? Tag it on Instagram with #yourdailyvegan because you know I want to see what you create!
- 2 cups cooked quinoa (1/2 cup dry quinoa yields 2 cups cooked quinoa)
- 8 ounces baby bella or white button mushrooms
- 5-6 elephant garlic scapes
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic
- Handful fresh dill
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Bring one cup of water to boil, add quinoa, and lower heat to simmer. Simmer until quinoa absorbs the water and becomes tender, about 15 - 20 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. When the quinoa is done, remove from heat and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Chop the elephant garlic scapes the same way you would chives, leaving the head in tact- you won't be using it. Leave a long enough stem so that they can be placed in a some water, in a few days the heads will bloom into lovely flowers! Once you chop the scapes, add them to the quinoa raw. Alternatively, you can cook the scapes- just add them to the mushrooms when they are almost done cooking. Be careful- they're small and easy to over cook, you want to make sure you only lightly cook them.
- Remove stems and thinly slice the mushrooms. Mince garlic. Heat an iron skillet and add the mushrooms and garlic to the skillet with a tiny sprinkle of salt. The salt will help the mushrooms break down. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. If the mushrooms are sticking, add a very small amount of water to the pan. Cook for a few minutes and then pour the soy sauce over the mushrooms. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are golden and caramelized. Remove from heat and add to quinoa.
- Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Rough chop the dill and add to the quinoa.
- Mix until fully combined & enjoy!
- If you can't find elephant garlic scapes, substitute them with chives or thinly-sliced leeks.
- Serving suggestion: Serve over steamed or raw greens for a filling and nourishing meal.