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  • Garlic Spears – 3 Ways

    Posted on | June 16, 2009 | 37 Comments |

     Garlic Spears

    Garlic spears are the flowery tops of the elephant garlic plant. Look how pretty they are! Raw spears have a really spicy garlic flavor, but it turns much milder once cooked. The more you cook the milder it gets! The texture is a little firmer than that of an asparagus, a little crunchy and tender at the same time. Garlic spears are in season now, and are available in some farmers markets and also at Asian stores, I got mine last week from Uwajimaya (my favorite Asian store). I was trying garlic spears for the first time, and what a treat it was!

    Even though the bunch of spears came with instructions on how to prepare – they suggested a simple stir-fry – I was in the mood for some experimenting. Coincidentally I had just seen the Wild Garlic Pesto at Meeta’s blog, so the first thought that came to mind was Garlic Spear Pesto! It turned out so good with a really nice garlic flavor which wasn’t too overpowering at the same time it had that fresh grassy feel to it. It is hard to explain, but trust me it was one of the best pesto’s I’ve ever made. It went nicely with pan-fried trout, can you spot the light green pesto on the fish?

    Garlic Spears Pesto

    One of my quick-fix sides is a sausage-edamame stir fry with garlic, since I had both sausage and edamame in hand, I thought I will give it a try with garlic spears instead, another successful experiment. These went nicely with the trout, garlic spears will work very well in any recipe that calls for garlic I think, I would even cut these up a little smaller next time.

    Garlic Spears Stir Fry 

    Since the stir-fried garlic spear had kind of the same texture as asparagus, next day I decided to combine the two and make some oven-roasted garlic spear-asparagus combo. I wanted to get the spears nice and brown which was a great idea, but the asparagus were overcooked and turned all stringy by the end of it. I should’ve added asparagus half-way-through instead of cooking both at the same time, or next time I’d just roast the garlic spears alone!  The crispy texture and the delicate garlic flavor made this a great snack and the aroma that filled the kitchen while these were getting roasted was heavenly!

    Roasted Garlic Spears 

    So, there it is, the three ways we had Garlic Spears! I will be trying these again for sure! Here are the recipes just for a rough idea, as the quantities noted are mainly just guesstimates. You can’t go wrong with these, just like with garlic!

    Garlic Spears – Almond Pesto


    • 3/4th cup garlic spears diced (just the green stalks, keep the flower buds aside
    • 1/4 cup almonds
    • juice from 1/2 lime/lemon
    • crushed red chilies to taste
    • salt to taste
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


    Place the garlic spears and almonds in a food processor and pulse to chop. Add the crushed chilies, salt, lemon juice and olive oil and process until smooth.

    Note: The raw garlic spears are really spicy, so if you want to reduce the kick a bit, you could just place half of the stalks with a sprinkle of water in a microwave safe bowl, cover and cook for 90 seconds. This will make the flavor much milder, I would still add at least half of it raw for that spicy kick.

    This is just a basic pesto, you can definitely add cheese if you want to, I didn’t have any in hand, so I didn’t use any.

    Garlic Spear Stir-Fry with Sausage and Soy beans


    • 2 sausages (any firm, dry kind would do), diced small
    • 1 cup frozen soybeans (edamame), thawed
    • 1 cup garlic spears, sliced lengthwise into 1″-2″ pieces, including the flowery part
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 tbsp oil
    • crushed red chilies to taste
    • Juice from 1/2 lime/lemon


    Heat oil in a pan and add the diced sausages. Saute, stirring frequently till the sausages start to brown. Add the soybeans and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook till the soybeans starts to brown. Remove this and keep aside. In the same pan, add a bit more oil stir fry the garlic spears for about 3 minutes when they just start to soften. Add the fried sausage-edamame to the pan and add crushed red chilies. Stir well and cook for 2 more minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and mix well. Serve warm.

    This is my entry for the Weekend Herb Blogging event hosted by Erbe in Cucina – Cooking with Herbs.

    Category: Chutneys and Dips and Pickles, Garlic Spears, Ingredient Guide, Side Dish - Dry, South Beach Diet Friendly

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    37 Responses to “Garlic Spears – 3 Ways”

    1. Arch
      June 16th, 2009 @ 9:40 pm

      Lovely looking garlic spears ! That pesto must taste wonderful…great pics, Sig !

    2. Meeta
      June 16th, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

      this is delicious! another great herb to look for!

    3. SuperChef
      June 16th, 2009 @ 10:34 pm

      That pesto mustve been great! Ive seen these at the farmers markets but never got them as i kept wondering what to do with them..pesto never crossed my mind!! niice!

    4. varsha
      June 16th, 2009 @ 10:35 pm

      I remember seeing them in Uwajimaya..that pesto sounds really nice Sig..:)

    5. Happy Cook
      June 16th, 2009 @ 10:54 pm

      I have never seen this here.
      It sounds so delcious. I guess you live in the gourmet city seattle :-)

    6. Nags
      June 16th, 2009 @ 11:03 pm

      omg! i have seen these but never knew they were garlic spears!

    7. Nirmala
      June 17th, 2009 @ 12:54 am

      Wow! All the pics are simply superb. And I love all the three ideas. I have not seen garlic spears here but my wild mind asks me to try these recipes with spring onions ;)

    8. Kathy
      June 17th, 2009 @ 6:11 am

      yum yum yum. I hope the NYC farmers market has some of these. Dying tot try them!


    9. tbc
      June 17th, 2009 @ 6:21 am

      The garlic spears (1st pic) would make a very simple and elegant centerpiece for the table.

      I don’t think I’ve seen garlic spears before- but then I haven’t been looking either. :mrgreen:
      The pesto sounds like a wonderful idea.

    10. Bong Mom
      June 17th, 2009 @ 7:32 am

      Oooooooooh love that. Though I don’t have any spears you did give me some idea about today’s dinner :)

    11. Deseree
      June 17th, 2009 @ 8:19 am

      I wish I would’ve seen this yesterday before I went to Uwajimaya! These look wonderful, I think I might have to make a special trip again there sometime this week. Thank you for sharing the recipes and your beautiful pictures :)

    12. Cynthia
      June 17th, 2009 @ 9:51 am

      Thanks for this post Sig. The next time I find these, I’ll give them a try. Thanks!

    13. Kalai
      June 17th, 2009 @ 11:13 am

      I can honestly say I’ve never tried a garlic spear, but these pics are so making me drool! I will definitely have to search for these. :)

    14. elra
      June 17th, 2009 @ 11:21 am

      I couldn’t get over your beautiful photo on the garlic spears. WOW!

      Such a great pesto, it must tastes delicious! YUMMY!

    15. Soma
      June 17th, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

      Sig the first picture is so beautiful that i would not dare to eat ‘em:=D

      Liked everything that you did with it. Now One of my favorite recipes in your blog;-) I have to go look for these. Back in India we would have the Onion version of these, which i haven’t seen here either.

    16. Mamatha
      June 17th, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

      Lovely, lovely, lovely!!!

    17. Aparna
      June 18th, 2009 @ 3:03 am

      Your garlic spears bouquet is beautiful, Sig.
      We don’t get these here but do get onion leaves in season and they look almost like this.
      Must be delicious.

    18. Lubna Karim
      June 18th, 2009 @ 3:06 am

      Oh wow that garlic bouquet looks aromatic……those recipes are simply drool worthy….

    19. lisaiscooking
      June 18th, 2009 @ 6:18 am

      Your oven-roasted garlic spears and asparagus look amazing!

    20. Laavanya
      June 18th, 2009 @ 8:54 am

      I love that first picture… how pretty. The dishes sound fabulous.

    21. rajitha
      June 18th, 2009 @ 9:07 am

      okay…now you have convinced me to look for these… the pics look great….

    22. Raji
      June 18th, 2009 @ 9:44 am

      Garlic spears looks beautiful(i guess it can not be used for flower arrangements due to the garlic smell..It’s new to me,) and the pesto sound delicious.

    23. Sra
      June 18th, 2009 @ 9:36 pm

      Maybe the only way I’ll ever see these is if I grow them! The first pic is bootiful!

    24. shilpa
      June 21st, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

      I have never seen these Sig. I will have to search for them.

    25. Miri
      June 22nd, 2009 @ 3:21 am

      I love the pesto best – looks great with the fish. Coincidentally, I just posted a Baked Lemon Sole recipe…and the marinade was similar to the one you used sometime back with chicken…


    26. Shantanu
      June 23rd, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

      Very interesting! Haven’t tried this ever. Are they much less ‘garlicy’ than the regular pods?

    27. Juliana
      June 25th, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

      Love all the pictures and the way you used the garlic spears…

    28. Pritya
      June 26th, 2009 @ 8:13 am

      A lovely blog. The first thing I saw here were the lovely garlic spears…a fabulous picture. Cheers!

    29. Anna
      June 26th, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

      Endey Sig,
      Could you please re start cooking and writing down for us your good old Mallu and Tamil recipes? ALl these fancy schmancy things like fava beans and garlic spears and stuff— ayyo, ennika venda. When I read the comments of some of your readers I , okay so this is just plain old me, BUT I feel like all of them are doing what the commoners did in the Emperors New Clothes story–waxing ebullient. Till the little boy came along and said Oh, but you are naked. I do not mean to diss you BUt–these recipes—just go back to the old tried and true stuff. PUHLEASE.

      • sig
        June 26th, 2009 @ 6:29 pm

        Anna, there are some people who actually like these “fancy schmancy” things, and by some people I mean me. I post the recipes that I’ve tried and loved which span a wide variety of ingredients and cuisines. If you don’t approve, I am sure there are plenty of sites out there where you can find just the type of recipes you are looking for.

        • Anna
          June 27th, 2009 @ 8:50 am

          SIg, I so know there are a dime a dozen sites out there for plain old people like me who like “zimple” Malayali food. But I actually LOVE your Malayali recipes and even though I am not a Tamil, I so loved the Tamil recipes as well. Kotahmalli thogayal, tamil biriyani et al. WHile I love my malayalli food , I come from a family where my dear sweet mom could not cook to save her life which means I never knew how to cook our food well. So I rely on sites such as yours, mishmash’s amongst a host of others to learn how to. You and I have been to many of the same restuarants especialy those in Vegas. I am married to a man who LOVES to eat well and when we went to Bobby Flay’s restauarant, I took one bite of my veal something or other and said,”Okay so I am paying 45 dollars to eat “eratchi olathiathu?”
          Even if you do not post another pure south indian recipe, not to worry–I am coming back to check out your posts regularly. I like how you write too much not to. Happy Cooking.

    30. Diane
      June 26th, 2009 @ 6:44 pm

      I like to stir fry these with oyster mushrooms, garlic and fish sauce. Mmmmmm….

    31. cheffresco
      June 27th, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

      Those are really pretty! Both of the recipes look delish too!

    32. Joanne
      September 14th, 2009 @ 10:47 am

      I want to find some now, it is september, am I too late, is there a website or something I could go to to find the garlic spears? They are sooo delicious.

    33. Priscilla
      June 9th, 2010 @ 1:24 pm

      Had these today for the first time …cooked them in the left over juice from our pan cooked chicken…it was great best meal we have had on our HCG diet my husband loved them also …will try you ideas

    34. hcg drop
      August 9th, 2010 @ 9:25 am

      Great…Now I have to read your other posts. That means my afternoon productivity is shot…Thanks a lot. Nice post.