Try this simple recipe for stir fried garlic scapes! These are thin, curly, green stems that grow from garlic bulbs and taste delicious sauteed with a sweet & savory Asian sauce!
If you’ve never seen these thin, curly stems at the farmer’s market or the Asian grocery store, these are called garlic scapes. They’re common in Asian cuisines and served sauteed or stir fried as a side dish.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Stir frying or sautéing makes them tender enough to bite through the fibrous stem.
- The mellow garlic flavor pairs great with the sweet and savory Asian sauce.
- Quickly cooking them helps keep their crunchy texture.
- It makes a delicious vegetarian Korean side dish (banchan).
Frequently asked questions
Garlic scapes are thin, green, curly stems/stalks/shoots of the garlic bulb that are harvested during late spring and early summer.
They’re commonly sold in farmer’s markets or Asian grocery stores during the months of May to July. They’re usually packaged in bundles and held together like a garlicky boutique.
They stay fresh for about two weeks in the fridge in an airtight container. You can also cut the ends and place them in a glass jar to keep them fresh for even longer.
The entire part is edible – the stems and even the bud at the top! The bud of the garlic scape eventually turns into a flower if you let it continue growing.
If you slice it in half, you can see the very early stages of it forming into a flower. This is totally edible and fine to eat at this point. The texture of the bud is similar to a green onion or chive.
The flavors are a combination of garlic and scallions. It has a very mellow, fresh garlic flavor with the texture of an asparagus stem. It’s a great way to get in garlic flavor without actually using garlic.
Ingredients you’ll need
- soy sauce
- brown sugar
- rice wine vinegar
- red pepper flakes
- sesame seeds
Step by step instructions
- Wait until the pan gets hot and then add the garlic scapes. Saute them for about two to three minutes or until they turn a bright green color.
- Add the sauce to the pan and stir fry everything together for about a minute or until the sauce thickens and coats the garlic scapes.
- The sauce should be thick and sticky and the stems should be tender enough to bite through but still have a crunchy texture.
I love serving this as a Korean side dish and having it alongside freshly steamed rice. It’s a delicious vegan banchan with tons of flavor!
You can also add protein and other vegetables to this dish and double the sauce!
More ways to enjoy garlic scapes
- In a sauce – blend them up into a pesto, dressing, or add them to chimichurri sauce.
- Roast them – toss them in oil and bake them in the oven at 425 degrees F.
- Chop them up and add them to salads for a mild garlic flavor
- Pickle them for a crunchy, tangy treat
More stir fry recipes:
- Honey Garlic Chicken Stir Fry
- Yaki Udon Noodle Stir Fry
- 15 Minute Thai Basil Tofu Stir Fry
- 15 Minute Korean Beef Bowl
Stir Fried Garlic Scapes
- 2½ cups garlic scapes – cut into 2 inch long pieces
- 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
- Mix all the ingredients together for the sauce and set it aside.
- Heat a pan over medium high heat and add the oil. Wait until the pan gets hot and then saute the garlic scapes until it turns a bright green color. After about 2 minutes, taste one to see if it's tender enough to bite through. It should still have a crunchy texture. Depending on how thick the stems are, you may need to saute them some more.
- Once the stems are cooked through, add the sauce and stir fry it together for one minute or until the sauce coats the garlic scapes. Serve immediately.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.