4 Garlic Recipes Like You've Never Had

Get ready to take your love of this humble ingredient to a whole new level.

October 31, 2016
garlic bulbs scapes and cloves
matt rainey

My family is Cuban, and garlic is in practically everything we make. Growing up, my abuela would chop the cloves for mojo, a citrusy garlic sauce used for everything from marinating meats to drizzling over veggies, and sofrito, a sauce of caramelized garlic, onions, and pepper that forms the base of many Cuban dishes. When I was little, I would grab my abuela’s hands and bury my face in them to deeply inhale their garlicky scent. When she passed away earlier this year, at first I didn’t want to be anywhere near a kitchen—which was tough, since I make my living as a cook. But when I did finally make my way back to the stove, sautéing chopped garlic in sizzling oil, unleashing its familiar fragrance, I realized that that one ingredient was exactly what I needed. It brought me right back to my abuela and everything she taught me to make with those lovely little cloves. Here are a few of her favorites, from our family to yours. ¡Buen provecho! 

( Find seasonal recipes, inspiring imagery, and gardening tips every day inside the Rodale's Organic Life 2017 Calendar.)


Tip: To peel a ton of garlic quickly, put the loose cloves in a big metal bowl and invert another metal bowl on top to cover. While holding the bowls tightly together, shake like crazy for about 30 seconds. It takes the skins right off. (And here's the trick to planting healthy garlic.)

Warm Garlic Sauce

(Mojo Calentito)

Serve as a dip, or spoon over dishes like boiled yucca, fried green plantains (tostones), or any type of vegetable or meat.

Makes about ¾ cup

¼ cup finely chopped garlic (about 8 large cloves)
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice

In a small saucepan, heat garlic, onion, salt, oil, and lemon juice over medium, whisking occasionally, until fragrant and the garlic and onion are soft, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve warm.

Related: 6 Ways To Make Garlic Last Longer

Homemade Citrus Garlic Sauce

(Mojo Criollo)

The massive amount of raw garlic in this makes it best suited for marinating meats, poultry, and seafood, rather than as a dip. Submerge your proteins or just slather it on. 

Makes about 1½ cups

40 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Juice of 1 large orange (½ cup)
Juice of 1 large lemon (¼ cup)
Juice of 1 small lime (3 tablespoons)

Combine garlic, oregano, pepper, and salt in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Alternatively, mash ingredients in batches with a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a sanitized large jar, add citrus juices, seal, and shake vigorously. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.


Related: How To Grow Your Own Garlic At Home 

Garlic Scape Rice Pilaf

This is perfect for nights when there isn’t much in the fridge.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup basmati rice
1¾ cups lower-salt chicken broth
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup thinly sliced garlic scapes

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper; cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add wine; simmer to reduce by half, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until crackling, 2 minutes. Add broth, zest, and ½ teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat down to low. Cook until rice is tender and dry, 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff in garlic scapes.

Pickled Garlic

Serve as part of an antipasto plate or mix into salad dressings. Use the pickling liquid as you would flavored vinegar.

Makes 1 pint

2 Tbsp. sugar
1¼ tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup white or red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 cup garlic cloves, peeled; halved if large
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
1 small chile pepper, such as Thai bird or cherry pepper

Measure sugar and salt into a medium saucepan. Add ⅔ cup water and vinegar and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve. Meanwhile, place garlic, pepper-corns, coriander seeds, and chile pepper in a sanitized pint jar. Carefully pour the boiling liquid into jar, close loosely, and let come to room temperature. Seal tightly and refrigerate for up to 1 month.