Arugula pesto is a 5-minute pesto recipe made with fresh arugula, parmesan cheese, walnuts, olive oil, and lemon. This nutty, zesty, sweet, peppery spread will soon become your favorite, year-round pesto. It’s low carb, gluten free, and utterly scrumptious!
Arugula Pesto with Walnuts
This super easy arugula pesto is one of the first recipes to appear on the blog in 2014.
My unshakeable obsession with this scrumptious spread dates all the way back to my college days!
Now, five years after publishing the recipe here on TKG, I’m more in love with arugula pesto than ever!
It’s fresh, easy, affordable, and delicious on EVERYTHING!
How is arugula pesto different from basil pesto?
The flavors are quite different. This arugula pesto is nutty from the walnuts, sweet and salty from the parmesan, and peppery from the arugula. I literally eat this stuff right off the spoon! I can’t do that with basil pesto as it tends to be too bitter for that.
The pureed textures are pretty much identical with both pestos, especially since the ingredients are so similar.
The preparation is identical. Mix all ingredients in a food processor or blender, which yields a similar texture.
The ingredients are almost identical except basil pesto is made with basil and arugula pesto is made with arugula. Also, I always use walnuts instead of pine nuts. You can use either, but I prefer the flavor of walnuts…and you save money!
The cost is budget-friendly with arugula pesto. Store-bought arugula is always available and always reasonably priced. Basil is expensive when it’s not basil season…and I need my pesto fix every month of the year!
How to make arugula pesto
Step 1: Place ingredients into a food processor or blender.
Step 2: Pulse or blend ingredients until well-combined.
Step 3: Add small amounts of water as needed to adjust consistency. (this is one of my pro tips to use less oil…no one has ever complained).
Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 5 days. Boom! So easy!
How to serve arugula pesto
- dip for vegetables and crackers
- marinade for poultry, fish, and seafood
- omelet ingredient
- sandwich condiment
- pasta sauce
- pizza topping
- crostini topping
Arugula Pesto Storage tips
Arugula pesto can be refrigerated in an airtight container and enjoyed within 3-5 days.
Naturally, the fresher, the better, but I think it’s most optimal on day 2 and day 3.
Can I freeze pesto?
Yes, it freezes nicely! You can do one of two things:
1) Place pesto in ice cube trays, freeze them, pop them out, store in the freezer, and thaw as needed.
2) Store pesto in small containers, freeze and thaw as needed. Storing in smaller containers makes it quicker to thaw.
Does this pesto turn brown like basil pesto?
The surface of homemade pesto naturally turns brown over time. When this happens, I simply scrape the browned pesto from the surface and remove it.
But, I’ve noticed that arugula pesto, unlike basil pesto, browns very little, if at all. I don’t always use lemon in it either. It’s a Christmas miracle, really!
Arugula Pesto Ingredients:
- fresh arugula
- extra virgin olive oil
- Parmesan Reggiano cheese
- salt and pepper
- water (as needed to adjust consistency)
- fresh lemon juice
* See full recipe below
Feel free to adapt these ingredients to your liking. We’re pretty confident that if you like flavor, you’ll love this combination!
Tools I use to make pesto:
- 7 cup food processor (fitted with the chopping/mixing dough blade)
- citrus squeezer
- garlic press
- airtight storage containers
Check out these other party platter spreads!
Arugula Pesto with Walnuts
- 4 cups Arugula loosely packed
- 1 cup Walnuts
- 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice optional, but recommended
- 2 cloves Garlic chopped
- 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup water as needed for thinning
- Place ARUGULA, CHEESE, WALNUTS, OLIVE OIL, LEMON, GARLIC, SALT, and PEPPER in a food processor fitted with the dough/chopping blade attachment.
- Pulse or blend until all ingredients are well-combined.
- Add water in small amounts to adjust consistency.
- Store in airtight container, refrigerated up to five days. I like to separate the full amount of pesto into smaller mason jars and store until needed. This keeps them fresher since they aren't constantly being opened and exposed to air.