Top 5 Gilroy Garlic Recipes

For years – since 1979 specifically – Gilroy, California has hosted tens of thousands of visitors for its annual Garlic Festival.  But unfortunately since 2019, the festival has been sidelined by COVID and now by logistics and security concerns.

In memory of those days when the air in Gilroy was filled with the smell of roasted, grilled, sautéed, and barbecued garlic, we will revisit a few of their Hall of Fame recipes. 

ThinkFives is excited to share our Top 5 favorite recipes that will premenated your kitchen with that distinctive garlic aroma – pungent but heavenly.

Savory Crunch Freshy Tangy Shrimpy Herby Garlic Lumpia Wrap

The title is a mouthful and so is the dish. This garlic shrimp lumpia mixes shrimp, pork, sesame oil and a half a bulb of fresh garlic.  It was the winning recipe in 2018.    

Lumia Filling

  • 8 large shrimp; finely minced
  • 2 ½ oz ground pork
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce

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Smoky Salsa Roja Shrimp and Roasted Garlic Cotija Grits

Shrimp and grits is a southern favorite but you can spice it up with roasted garlic and peppers. Chef Naylet LaRochelle took the top prize in 2017 with his award winning recipe.

 Roasted Garlic Cotija Grits Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to preference
  • 1 cup quick cooking grits
  • 2 roasted garlic heads (reserved)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Cotija cheese

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Gilroy Garlic Festival Gourmet Alley Scampi in Butter Sauce

Gourmet Alley is the hub of activity during the Gilroy Garlic Festival. For over 40 years, local volunteers have been tossing and flaming calamari and shrimp scampi in huge iron skillets. These Pyro Chefs have perfected the art of creating flumes of fire just hot enough to fry but not hot enough to burn the seafood. And it’s quite a show.

Flame ups of shrimp scampi are great to watch but the food is even better to eat.

Butter Sauce:
• ½ to 1 cup butter
• 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic
• ¼ cup flour
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
• ⅓ cup white wine
• Juice of ½ lemon
• 1 teaspoon dried basil

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Gilroy Garlic Festival Gourmet Alley Calamari

Calamari is another favorite at Gilroy Garlic Festival’s Gourmet Alley. Calamari complements the other menu choices including garlic sausage sandwiches, garlic pepper steak, pesto pasta and marinated mushrooms.

Getting hungry?


  • 3 pounds calamari, cleaned and cut
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup white sherry
  • 1 tablespoon crushed fresh garlic
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dry basil or 1 tablespoon fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dry crushed red pepper

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Grilled Fish with Garlic Salsa

Garlic and seafood are natural together. This first prize winner of one of the earliest Gilroy festivals (1984)  is still a fan favorite. The judges agreed. It was quite a catch.


  • 1/2 cup fruity olive oil
  • 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and slivered
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped to make 1/2 cup, reserving some whole leaves for garnish.

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Now I’m starving! Share a link to your favorite garlic recipe.


  1. These recipes are awesome. I’m not a fan of calamari, but will even try that one!

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