Arugula Pesto

Also known as “rocket,” arugula is a peppery, strong tasting leafy green that is rich in vitamin C and iron and makes for a great pesto. The strength, bitterness, and heat of arugula vary widely. For many people, the spicy notes are their favorite part of arugula, but if you like flavors a little milder, tone down an especially strapping batch by incorporating spinach leaves and/or adding more cheese to this pesto.–Stacey Printz

Arugula Pesto Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 10 M
  • Makes 1/3-1/2 cup


  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cups arugula, packed
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Salt


  • 1. Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Cook over medium-low heat until soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • 2. In another skillet, toast the pine nuts until lightly browned and fragrant.
  • 3. Peel and mince the garlic. Place the garlic, nuts, arugula, cheese, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a coarse paste forms. With the machine running, gradually stream in the remaining olive oil and blend until the pesto emulsifies. Season with salt.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve the arugula pesto over a salad of fresh peaches and prosciutto (Italian ham)
  • Toss the pesto with gnocchi, chopped fresh tomatoes and shaved cheese
  • Make an arugula pesto pizza. Coat pizza dough with pesto and mozzarella cheese, and bake in a hot oven.
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