Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto RigatoniSummer’s First Pesto

Arugula grows so beautifully in our tiny garden. During the cooler spring weather it grows into a compact, deep green plant with many long leaves. As soon as the warm weather hits, though, each arugula plant bolts upright. Its leaves become very small and few between with a bud at the top of a very leggy stem attempting to blossom. I daily remove (and eat) the buds hoping to encourage more leaves. Even so, I’m losing the battle of the buds.

Arugula Pesto to the rescue
Arugula for Pesto (c) jfhaugenWhen it’s time to harvest the arugula, it’s time for Arugula Pesto. Over the years I’ve tried a few different arugula pesto recipes. This year’s recipe is my favorite. I’m pleased to share it with you as I would imagine with the heat wave across the country your arugula is also ready to harvest.

Arugula’s rich, peppery taste is fabulous on its own, in sandwiches and salads and as the base of a full-flavored pesto. A relative of cabbage, kale and broccoli, nutrient-rich arugula has more vitamin C, calcium and beta carotene than most other salad greens. Combining arugula with olive oil, as in pesto, allows for more complete absorption of some of these nutrients.

So many uses for Arugula Pesto

  • Tossed with pasta
  • Spread on a pizza
  • Mixed with boiled potatoes
  • Stirred into soup
  • Added to hummus
  • Folded inside an omelet
  • Served with grilled salmon or chicken
  • Savored on a spoon

Einkorn Rigatoni
Arugula Pesto Rigatoni (c) jfhaugenMy free sample of einkorn rigatoni from jovial foods arrived a few days ago. As it was still sitting on the kitchen counter, the package caught my attention as a perfect base for sampling this recipe for Arugula Pesto. I cooked the rigatoni for about 23 minutes in simmering water then tossed it with the pesto. The einkorn pasta stayed together well and the ridges held onto the pesto making for a very tasty dish.

Are you familiar with this most ancient wheat? It was actually the first wheat species grown by man about 12,000 years ago! As with farro, difficulties in processing it have allowed it to be forgotten these many years and just like farro it has never been hybridized.

BTW, nutrient rich einkorn contains almost two times as much protein and trace minerals as modern wheat. It is also high in B vitamins, iron and dietary fiber.

I’ve just harvested more arugula and am off to prepare another batch of pesto—hopefully with enough extra to freeze some for a winter’s day when it will be even more appreciated.

As basil loves these warm days, check out my recipe for a somewhat traditional Pesto Genovese.

Arugula Pesto (c) jfhaugenArugula Pesto

This pesto benefits from sitting at least a half hour before using so the sharpness of the arugula mellows and blends with the other flavors.

Makes a scant 1 cup

Arugula Pesto Ingredients (c) jfhaugen2 medium garlic cloves
Rounded ¼ cup walnuts
4 ½ cups arugula, tightly packed
½ cup flat leaf parsley, tightly packed
½ teaspoon salt
6 twists freshly ground pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese

With the food processor running, drop in the garlic cloves. When they are minced, stop the machine. Add the walnuts and arugula and process with the pulse button till chopped. Add the salt and pepper and the olive oil. Process till combined. Add the grated cheese and use the pulse button to incorporate it.

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8 thoughts on “Arugula Pesto

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  2. I had Einkorn Rigatoni for dinner tonight – no doubt my favorite pasta! Your recipe has be craving it already but this time with pesto and the rich ingredients you suggested! Looks delicious

  3. Pingback: Lemon-Cured Salmon w/ Arugula Pesto | Everyday Healthy! Everyday Delicious!

  4. Hi Janice,
    Even when I don’t actually make the recipe, it seems you always teach me something. Einkorn Rigatoni is now in my mind. I so enjoy reading how your recipes come about and picturing you in your garden. Your photographed presentation as always is beautiful.

    Had planned to use arugula in a salad for tonight – also adding cherry tomatoes and grilled polenta.
    You are an inspiration for all things culinary.
    Healthy and delicious!

    • Thank you, Sharon, for your kind comments.
      Your salad with arugula, tomatoes and grilled polenta sounds like a nice balance of flavors and textures. thanks for sharing your creativity with us,

  5. This looks and sounds yummy. I do love herbs, and your writings are increasing my love by expanding my knowledge of these lovely greens and others used in your recipes. “Savored on a spoon.” I must do that. My mouth is watering. Thanks for all the suggestions, Janice, on how to use various ingredients. I find that most helpful.

    • You are most welcome, Patricia. Your comments are most helpful for me, thank you.

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