In less than five minutes, this homemade arugula pesto sauce recipe comes together for a delicious, healthy sauce that’s bursting with nutrition and flavor, perfect for grilled meats, roasted veggies, pasta and salads.
Kate here, reporting for duty with another green sauce recipe that’s as full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals as it is flavor and deliciousness.
I was going to say that 2016 is clearly the year of quick and easy flavor-bomb green sauces….
…but then I realized that one year is clearly not going to be enough to contain my love for green sauce. Please expect many, many, many more years of recipes in this wheelhouse on R+R.
They’re just too good for you, too easy to make, too versatile to throw on top of basically anything and make it taste better for me to stop here.
So I won’t. I will continue making your dinners easier, healthier and just plain more delicious from here on out. This is my promise to you. You’re welcome! 😉
So join me! Today, we’re heading west to Italy for their legendary pesto sauce.
What is Pesto?
Like most Italian recipes, pesto is a green sauce that relies on simple, fresh ingredients to pack a powerful flavor punch.
It starts with fresh basil, then comes crushed garlic, pine nuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese), salt; and it all gets blended up with olive oil.
Simple, quick, easy. Unbelievable how much bright, delicious flavor can come from just 6 ingredients, most of which are just pantry staples.
Just because pesto is traditionally made with basil, though, doesn’t mean you have to follow the rules.
In classic Kate form, I’ve trashed up the classic recipe a bit, because I just can’t stand coloring inside the lines. So I’m switching things up, keeping you guys on your toes, and calling for peppery arugula in this pesto recipe.
Kale gets all the credit, but there are so many awesome greens out there that deserve their moment in the sun. #teamarugula. Who’s with me?
The spicy green is packed with antioxidants and has been proven to lower cancer risk, improve bone health, eyesight, skin, brain function, metabolism, mineral absorption and immunity. Take that, kale!
How to Make Pesto:
Honestly, there’s really just a base recipe for pesto that you need to follow but you can switch out the types of herbs/green you use, the variety of nuts, the spices, etc. and make it your own.
Here’s the basic formula for killer pesto:
2 cups herbs/greens (basil, arugula, kale, spinach, cilantro, parsley, mint, beet greens, carrot tops)
+ 1/4 cup nuts (pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pepitas)
+1/4 cup acid (lemon juice, vinegars from ACV to red wine to sherry vinegar)
+ 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (Note: If you want to make this pesto vegan, you can leave out the parmesan cheese and swap in a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast instead.)
+ the mainstays: 3/4 cup olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, salt and pepper
+ spices: I like red pepper flakes, but you could try roasted peppers or truffle oil or adding some superfoods like flax or hemp seeds for a major nutrition boost!
= magical green sauce that makes everything it touches more and more delicious by the spoonful.
The point is, have fun with it. Experiment. Try new flavor combinations. Food should be fun. Enjoy it!
Once again, I’m relying on the magical superpowers of the Cuisinart food processor. It’s definitely my most used kitchen appliance, besides my Vitamix (you can also check out Vitamix.com for special promos or sales).
So an amazing recipe that comes together in less than 5 minutes and goes with just about anything from roasted veggies to grilled meats, scrambled eggs to pasta and salads.
Plus, it’s naturally gluten-free. Naturally anti-inflammatory. Naturally delicious!!
Where do I sign?
Homemade Arugula Pesto Sauce Recipe
- 2 cups organic baby arugula
- 1/4 cup organic pine nuts
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese , grated
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lemon , juiced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon organic red pepper flakes (this just gives the tiniest kick to the sauce and adds a layer of complexity)
- Add all ingredients to a food processor (I recommend this one) and pulse until smooth. If you need to add more oil, add a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- Reserve sauce in a jar in the fridge for 1 week, or freeze for a future use.
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser