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Making Okonomiyaki with Garlic Scapes

by Dawn
okonomiyaki on plate

A Different Type of Gluten-Free Pancake Recipe for you

Have you ever heard of okonomiyaki? Yeah, me neither. But, I was looking for recipes to use up the garlic scapes I just harvested from my garden and these sounded intriguing.

I particularly like the sound of these because the name literally means “fried (or cooked) how you like it”, meaning you can add anything you’d like to these yummy little pancakes.

Since I’m genetically (my grandma was the same way) unable to follow a recipe exactly as it was written, I figured these were tailor-made for me.

Welcome to the first installment of my Abundant Harvest series. From now through the summer and into the fall, I’ll be sharing recipes and preserving tips for various crops you may be growing in your garden (or that you can find at your local farmer’s market). In the case of recipes, you’ll find a printable version in the subscribers resource library you can sign up for here. Should we get into detail on preserving (canning or freezing), I’ll put a helpful cheat sheet in there as well.

I’m going to start with a quick summary of the recipe here first for those of you who are yelling “just get on with it already!“, and then I’ll go through the whole thing in detail with pictures afterwards.


  • Oil for frying (I used olive oil)
  • 2 cups broccoli slaw
  • 4 chopped garlic scapes
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
  • 1/3 c flour (I used cassava)
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Chop garlic scapes (by hand or in food processor)
  2. Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium high heat in skillet.
  3. Saute garlic scapes and broccoli slaw until they begin to soften. Remove from heat.
  4. Whisk eggs, soy sauce, sesame oil and seeds (if using). Whisk in flour (if using cassava flour, it won’t be quite smooth). Stir in vegetables.
  5. Reheat pan with another tablespoon of oil.
  6. Drop large spoons of the batter into the hot pan (make sure it sizzles when it hits the pan. Otherwise, heat it a bit longer first). If the pancakes aren’t flat in the pan, you can flatten them with your spatula.
  7. Keep a close eye on the pancakes and flip them when they begin to brown (they burn easily!) A minute or two on each side should be enough, you want them brown and just cooked through.
  8. Transfer them to a plate and you’re done!

Again, if you’d like an easily printable version of this recipe, enter your info here and you’ll receive password details for my Resource Library.

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Detailed Explanation

What in the World are Garlic Scapes?

Garlic scapes are the flower stalks of hardneck garlic. They’re the curly stem you see on the plant in the picture below, if you’ve never seen them before.

garlic scape on plant

Don’t worry about hurting your plants by removing them. It’s actually better for the garlic as the plant will then put more effort and energy into the bulbs underground once the scapes are removed, giving you bigger and better garlic!

TIP: Scapes appear approximately 3 weeks or so before your garlic will be ready to dig.

Ingredient Substitutions

So, here’s the fun part. You can make the recipe just as I wrote it, or you can totally change it, it’s up to you! The recipe I used for inspiration didn’t look a whole lot like the one I came up with, but as I said in the beginning, that’s the beauty of okonomiyaki!

If you’re not gluten-free, regular wheat flour is fine. I imagine if you are GF but don’t have cassava flour, you can likely use rice or another GF flour, although I haven’t tried it. I like cassava because it’s a little “sticky” and so holds together in things like pancakes and wraps very nicely.

In case you didn’t know, cassava flour is made from the root of the yuca or manioc plant. It’s the same plant that tapioca starch comes from. Therefore, if you’re not only gluten-free, but grain-free as well, cassava is a great alternative for you. Unlike other GF flours, cassava gives you a thicker, more “bready” feel, I’m assuming because of its slightly sticky texture.

In fact, I make all my sandwich wraps from Otto’s Cassava Flour (there’s a recipe on the back of the bag!) and they’re soft and chewy and all together yummy! I was told years ago that Otto’s was the best and I absolutely love them, so never even tried another brand. Seriously, give Otto’s Cassava Flour a try, you won’t regret it!

As for the other ingredients, I would say the eggs are required (as is the flour), but beyond those, play to your heart’s content. The veggies need to be shredded or finely chopped, but other than that, anything goes. I’m thinking of trying a mix of butternut squash or sweet potato with maybe some cauliflower and broccoli. How about just cabbage, or cabbage, broccoli and carrots? See what I mean? You can play!

Maybe you don’t like garlic. Don’t add any! Personally, I’ll be making the next batch with more scapes, as I didn’t feel like just four gave it enough garlicky taste. I might also add some dried onions and increase the soy sauce a little, as I don’t like sesame and thought they were a little bland the way I made them (without the sesame).

Some okonomiyaki recipes also call for meat or seafood. I’m thinking bacon would be a lovely addition (doesn’t bacon make everything better?)! Some finely chopped breakfast sausage or turkey might be interesting, too. I’ve seen recipes with shrimp also, although I’m not a shrimp girl myself.

Preparation Details

Chopping the Garlic Scapes and other Veggies

First, remove the tops from your scapes and discard the tops. You want to cut just below the thickened portion the purple arrow is pointing to in the picture below.

cut scape tops

You can chop your garlic scapes by hand. However, I’m lazy, so I used my Ninja Mini Chopper to do it. I LOVE my Ninja Chopper, I do believe it’s the best money I’ve ever spent! I got it as an add-on when I bought a Ninja Blender. Don’t get me wrong, I love the blender too, but I use the chopper AT LEAST once a week, if not more.

garlic scapes
This is what you’ll be left with once you cut the tops off

You’ll also need to chop your veggies if they’re not already chopped. Again, I was lazy (and it’s SUPER hot here this week so I didn’t feel like chopping, even with a chopper), so I bought pre-chopped veggies.

Once you mix your scapes and other veggies, be sure the oil in your pan is hot enough to sizzle when you add the veggies, then saute them until they’re somewhat softened.

While the veggies are cooking, whisk together the eggs, soy sauce, sesame seeds/oil and any other spices you might be using. Then add the flour and whisk until smooth. If using cassava flour, there will be a few lumps. Don’t worry, they won’t hurt anything.

A note on coconut aminos as a sub for soy sauce: If you’re like me and you try to avoid soy, coconut aminos are a wonderful substitute for soy sauce. Trust me, you won’t notice the difference! (and no, it doesn’t taste like coconut!) If you’d like to try it, you can find the brand I use and recommend here.

Once your veggies are done, incorporate them into your flour mixture.

okonomiyaki batter
I know, it looks kinda gross. I promise, it’s not!

You’ll want to reheat the pan with a bit more oil. I started with my burner at 7, but dropped it to 5 (medium) because they were browning too fast on the outside before cooking through.

Drop large spoonfuls of batter into the pan. With the cassava flour, I was able to just pour the batter in. I’m not sure how it would work with wheat flour, you might need to use a spoon or scoop.

okonomiyaki cooking
Flip them when the edges look solid or dry.
The liquid you see is the oil, it all crept down into the right corner!

Keep a close eye on your pancakes so they don’t burn. You want them a nice golden brown, but it only takes a minute or two on each side to achieve this.

And they’re done!

That’s it! Your okonomiyaki are all done!

You can whisk together a sauce made of 1/2 c mayo, 1 Tbsp sriracha and 1 Tbsp ketchup to pour over your pancakes before eating, if you’d like (I don’t like hot, so I haven’t tried this!). Some people also squeeze the juice of a lime over them before eating.

Personally, I just ate them as they were and I was fine with that! I’m going to try freezing them and reheating at a later date. I have a feeling they’re going to be even better once the flavors have a chance to blend.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe and that you’ll give it a try. If you do try it, let me know how you like them in the comments. There are several pinnable images below. Please pin to your Recipes board so you can find this post for future reference.

Otherwise, smile and have a crazy organic day!

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Nikki Gwin 07/22/2019 - 10:55 pm

oh my. I was already wanting a bedtime snack and THIS is what I want now!!! YUM! I had never heard of this before.
🙂 gwingal

Dawn 07/23/2019 - 8:24 pm

Me neither! But they’re soooo good!

Sarita 07/18/2019 - 10:28 am

These look SO good! I’m pinning this to my recipe board – we all love garlic here and grow scapes from bulbs all year long in our indoor pots. And I just spent a full minute (or two) trying to pronounce Okonomiyaki !!!

Dawn 07/20/2019 - 3:48 pm

Yeah, still not sure on that pronunciation, although I got pretty good at spelling it after typing it a zillion and a half times! They are quite good, and I love that you can totally customize them however you want (for instance, I’ll be adding much more garlic next time!)

Linda Carlson 07/18/2019 - 8:59 am

Just YUM… that looks so very good.

Dawn 07/20/2019 - 3:48 pm

They are very good!


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