Sorrel and Garlic Scapes Pesto

This week, and probably next, you will be getting either garlic scapes or green garlic. See my previous post on both here on how they grow. Scroll down a bit past the recipe.

Sorrel is probably the one item on the Farm, at CSA pick-up and at the Farmer’s Market we get most questions about.


It looks a lot like spinach but is related to rhubarb and buckwheat. If you ever see buckwheat or rhubarb going to seed you will see the similarities. Sorrel is tart like rhubarb too.

I think of sorrel as somewhere in-between a green and an herb. It’s tart pungent flavor isn’t great alone, or I don’t think it is. But sorrel is great as an accompaniment with other pungent flavors like kale, garlic, or arugula. I tell people to use it in dishes you would use basil, parsley or cilantro. You will get an unexpected tart, bright ‘bang’ in your dish.

I don’t know why but sorrel leaves always have some wear and tear and holes. Very few leaves are ever perfect, and that is just fine. You almost always shred, process, or cook the sorrel so it doesn’t matter if the leaves aren’t perfect. This is my bunch of sorrel leaves washed and ready to cook with. This is actually a really nice looking bunch of sorrel. Very few leaves are beat up. I would be fine with much worse.

Washed Sorrel

Wyatt suggested I make a sorrel pesto. I had never made sorrel pesto, so why not? I used my ‘go-to’ pesto recipe. You can sub any ingredients for like ingredients in any pesto recipe. So, please, play with this through the season with what you have. Sub kale, or spinach, or cilantro for the sorrel. Use any allium or nuts you like. Try walnut or pumpkin seed oil.
I got green garlic this week, but if you got garlic scapes you can use those in the same amount. You could also just use a few cloves of garlic if you want to make this later in the season when scapes and green garlic are gone.

Sorrel and green garlic pesto


1 1/2 cups (1 3/4 ounces) loosely packed washed sorrel leaves (or any leafy green), trimmed if there are tough stems.
3 or 4 garlic scapes or green garlic bulbs or cloves of garlic washed and trimmed.
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (any cheese will do) (about a 1-ounce piece)
1/4 cup nuts, any kind you like. I used almonds today.
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (I thought I would skip the lemon because the sorrel is so tart, but the tartness was diminished from the fat in the oil and cheese and the lemon was very nice here. Taste before you add it though)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Process sorrel, Parmesan, pine nuts, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until coarsely ground. With machine running, add oil in a slow, steady stream until mixture is emulsified. Pesto can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Put a light film of oil on top of the pesto if you are storing more than a day so it doesn’t turn brown. If it does turn brown it is ok to eat, it just looks unappetizing.

This recipe makes about a cup of pesto. I really like it made with sorrel, good suggestion Wyatt!
If I’m being honest I am not a classic basil pesto fan. I don’t like the clove undertones of sweet basil and I really don’t like pine nuts in anything. This sorrel pesto has a nice, clean balanced flavor. I hope you try it.

Finished Pesto

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5 Responses to Sorrel and Garlic Scapes Pesto

  1. Piebird says:

    I’m going to try this with some sorrel from my garden. Thanks for the idea!

  2. i love sorrel soup. it simple and tasty. also you can cook any meat with sorrel.

  3. Joan Goddard says:

    Here’s a really great recipe for pizza with sorrel puree:

  4. D says:

    I’ve made spinach pesto before and I think adding sorrel to that would brighten it up and keep you from having the straight sorrel taste. (i.e. keep the basic recipe but let spinach make up a good portion of the 1 1/2 cups of greens)

  5. mo says:

    great ideas! keep them coming. I am loving this sorrel pesto. I made lunch today and put the pesto on some leftover rice and used some greens I had. It was so good. I like the idea of pizza.

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