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Arugula Pesto Recipe

Even though the holidays have come and gone, life’s just not getting very quiet around here. This year in New Orleans we’ve gone straight from the Christmas holiday season right into Mardi Gras. Jeremy and I participate in one of the parades so that means we’re actually doing work long before the parade.  For us busy times, means less time for cooking in the evenings so quick and easy meals are key.

Arugula Pesto Pasta Recipe

Today I present an arugula pesto recipe.  Tomorrow I’ll have a pasta recipe utilizing the pesto but really the possibilities for this are endless. It can be used as a pizza topping, stirred into scrambled eggs, or added to macaroni and cheese to give it some extra zing. I also developed a smoked turkey sandwich recipe using this pesto in a custom-made mayo.  And most importantly, you can spread a thin layer of this pesto on a grilled cheese sandwich and transform a simple meal into a culinary delight.

Whew, well now I know you’re swimming with ideas in your head so let’s get on to the ingredients and actually preparing the pesto then the recipe. This arugula pesto recipe is very similar to the spinach pesto recipe I posted last fall. You could technically make them the same way but I did vary them slightly. Just like any other pesto, the base of this one is garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil.  But I usually vary in the green leaf and nut aspects.


I’m a big fan of using walnuts in my pestos. They are cheaper than pine nuts and have a more hearty flavor.  Walnuts are also rich in protein, dietary fiber and essential amino acids.  Like most nuts, they’re a nearly perfect food offering much of what you do need in your diet and little of what you don’t. I also love to buy my nuts in bulk at the grocery store. They’re typically cheaper and tastier than the pre-packaged ones.  AND you’re able to buy as much or as little as you need, which is always good for the grocery budget.

Overall I’m a big fan of arugula. It’s a spicy, peppery green that’s also called salad rocket in Europe. Arugula is very popular here in the US, likely due to its tasty flavor, long shelf-life and versatility in cooking. Especially when wrapped properly to control moisture, arugula can be kept longer than a typical salad green. It’s versatility is also impressive. Due to its relatively low moisture content (compared to lettuces), not only can arugula be used in a salad, but it can be used in pastas, on pizzas, and in pestos as I’ve done here.


The method for making pesto couldn’t be easier. You simply add all the ingredients to a food processor, blend and done. If you have a smaller food processor you may need to do it in batches. It this is the case, simply divide the ingredients and proceed to process. The pesto is tastiest when used the same day but does last for about a week in the fridge in an air tight container with a piece of plastic wrap pressed down on the pesto. Controlling the oxidation process is key to keeping the pesto fresh.


Alrighty, now that we’ve got that out of our way, on to the recipe!

Yield: 1 cup

Arugula Pesto Recipe

This quick and easy arugula pesto recipe is ready in 10 minutes and can be used in pasta, soups, salad and sandwiches. Very versatile!


  • 3 cups of arugula (1-5 ounce package)
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. All add ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. If you need to work in two batches, divide ingredients in half, process each batch and then combine in a mixing bowl to finish.

Prep:10 minutes

Total:10 minutes

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