Easy Peasy Recipe: Arugula Pesto

Ever had a hankering for something that just won’t leave?  This week, I needed pesto in a bad way.  Let me emphasize, I NEEDED pesto like Donald Trump needs a haircut — in the worst way possible.  This is surprising because I normally am not a huge pasta fan.  The occasional bowl of spaghetti and meatballs passes by my table, but for the most part, pasta isn’t a huge component of my rotating menu at the house.  I don’t know if it was the warm weather and sunshine or having a week off from classes, but I felt the need for pesto’s green nutty goodness.

But then upon examination, I think the hankering came from the fact that I had about a ton of arugula in the fridge thanks to a trip to the farmer’s market while I was hungry.  Having tired myself of salads, I remembered this quick and easy recipe for arugula pesto that I had seen in various ways while in culinary school.  While traditional pesto uses basil, this pesto capitalizes on arugula’s spicy qualities and plays then up with a bit of red pepper flakes.



– 4 cups (packed) arugula leaves (about 6 ounces)
– 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
– 1/4 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes


Blend arugula, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese in processor until almost smooth. With machine running, gradually add olive oil; process until well blended. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper.


– The pesto can be made ahead of time. Cover and let stand up to 2 hours at room temperature.  If storing in a refrigerator, cover pesto with a layer of olive oil and it will last up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using.

– Walnuts vs. Pine Nuts:  You can make this pesto with either walnuts or pine nuts.  Personally I find pesto made with walnuts have a grittier texture which I do not like.  However, taste wise, walnuts bring a certain earthiness while pine nuts bring a fresh and you guessed it, “piny” quality to the final dish.  Both are delicious, so test it out and see which you prefer.

Don’t forget to enter the give away to receive the tea set I used in my Mother’s Day tablescape!

7 thoughts on “Easy Peasy Recipe: Arugula Pesto

  1. Sounds and looks delicious, Courtney! I love the fact that it is so easy and I can whip this up quickly or ahead of time. Thank you for helping me figure out what to serve for dinner this evening!

    • Bri – I do have a great recipe (and super easy) for braised lamb shanks. Pair it with a white bean puree and sugar peas for a super duper dinner. I will post the recipe next week for you.

  2. Pingback: The Weekly Yum-ster! « After the Ecstasy, the Laundry . . .

  3. I LOVE arugula pesto!! I make mine with manchego in place of parmesan, and I add a little Italian parsley to the mix. It’s also REALLY good with lemon pasta if you can find it (or make some fresh). Love your addition of the red pepper flakes…will definitely throw some in next time I make this!

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