Love and Olive Oil

Shell Pasta with Garlic Scape Pesto, Bacon, and Black Eyed Peas

Shell Pasta with Garlic Scape Pesto, Bacon, and Black Eyed Peas

I think the garlic scapes are finally gone, we didn’t get any last week and the few precious ones still in the fridge on their way out. We’ve found some pretty unusual and delicious things to do with these vegetables (are they considered vegetables?), but seems like the typical go-to recipe for them is garlic scape pesto. This is the first and only time we actually made it, and even then it was more of a vehicle for the pasta and other ingredients than the star of the show. But I guess when you throw in tasty things like black eyed peas and bacon it’s easy to let something like the pesto get overshadowed.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Ok, I lied. Just a little. We actually made this recipe in early June, with one of our first bunches of garlic scapes. We’ve been cooking so many good things lately I can barely keep up with the posting. And unfortunately, the poor helpless victims of that overload are the meals we might consider less exiting. Like the pastas, who often get pushed to back of the blogging queue in lieu of more novel things. Sure, those garlic scape beef skewers might be fancier, but this pasta is just as delicious. Better late than never, right?

Shell Pasta with Garlic Scape Pesto, Bacon, and Black Eyed Peas

Makes 4 servings. Adapted from Lannae’s Food & Travel blog.

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1 lb. dried shell pasta
3 oz. thick sliced bacon, diced
2 cups dried black eyed peas, soaked in cold water overnight
1 cup garlic scapes, finely chopped (3-4 scapes)
1/4 cup olive oil
red pepper flakes, to taste
salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese


Bring a pot of salted water to a simmer. Add soaked beans, cover, cook for 30-45 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine garlic scapes, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and salt & pepper in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture forms a minced paste.

Cook pasta according to package directions until just barely al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.

In a large sauce pan, cook bacon pieces until crispy. Add drained beans and saute for 1-2 minutes or until coated. Add cooked pasta and pesto and stir well, adding pasta water as needed if the mixture is too dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with freshly shaved parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

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  1. What would you suggest for a similar flavor if we can’t find the garlic scapes? Is there a good substitute for them at all? I spent the last weekend of June looking for some at our farmers market, but had no luck.

  2. Oh lord. I’m on a major pesto kick right now, and this post is not helping!!! Mouth-watering.

  3. Ooo I don’t think pasta should ever be pushed anywhere… Lol. Iove the stuff and u could certainly eat it everyday and not get bored! This looks delicious !!

  4. Oh this looks so good! Perfect weeknight meal. It’s on my calendar for next week!

  5. What is there NOT to like about this dish?? I would die for a bowl of this right now :) Looks pretty much perfect!

  6. The purple eyed peas are similar to black eyed peas, and are grown locally. The ones I used are fresh hulled that I put up in the freezer until I wanted to use them. Fresh eyed peas can just be sauteed or simmered for 10 minutes. I found some GA grown fresh purple eyed peas at the Produce Place over in Sylvan Park and I bought some, put them up in the freezer to make this dish again sometime. If you can find fresh peas, those are the best. I am not sure if they will be back, but there used to be a fresh bean, black eyed peas and purple eyed peas seller at the Nashville Farmer’s Market, in the shed corner closest to Bicentennial Mall and Gardens of Babylon. They bring bags of string bean looking pods that have the eyed peas on in them, and then put them in an extruder with the eyed peas popping out into a box and the shells going to the back. I have not seen them yet, but this is the time for beans and peas to be harvested.

  7. Yum! This inspired me to my own version, as I was lacking many key ingredients– simmered scapes & sunflower seeds in butter, with pasta and parmesan. All it needed was prosciutto…mmm. Great post!

  8. Oh you 2! You guys are so awesome! Thank you for the adaptation line! So, what did you guys think of your pasta dish? The dish I made was an inspiration from pasta dishes Tandy Wilson made at City House (on 4th Ave N). None of his pastas have red sauce for the most part of the year (because tomatoes are not in season), and none of them have big beef meatballs either. As lame as this is to admit, it never really occurred to me, for the most part, that semolina pasta could have other flavors besides red, cream or clam sauces. Duh right! Anyway, the garlic scape bacon, broccoli and purple eye peas are all flavors I like, they all happened to be in my house, CSA, or freezer and I gave it a shot.

    • Well you did inspire it, after all! :) It was different and delicious!

      How do the purple-eyed peas differ from black-eyed? We haven’t cooked any-eyed peas, like ever. I think we need to practice more with dried beans in general, ours were a bit undercooked. But I really loved the variety and non-meatball protein they brought to the pasta.

      I personally love pastas without meat and red sauces, makes for more unique flavors in my opinion!

  9. This sounds amazing….and not just because I haven’t eaten dinner yet. Love the combo of flavors! Bacon…Black Eyed peas? Pasta? Yum!

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