One of the first things I get antsy to enjoy as soon as I sense the first hint of spring is fresh pesto. Unfortunately, basil is still a couple of months away in the Northeast. That’s where arugula pesto comes in. One of the earlier spring treasures, it actually flourishes in chillier weather, making it readily available throughout the spring. Arugula is spicier than basil, which gives the pesto a zesty flavor. When cooking with arugula, keep in mind that the small leaves are milder in flavor and the large leaves are more spicy and bitter, so select the size of your leaves based on how much bite you would like your recipe to have.
One of the things I love about pesto is it only takes a few minutes to prepare in a food processor and no actual cooking is involved.
Once blended, enjoy traditionally on some fresh pasta. It’s also delicious as a sandwich spread, a substitute for pizza sauce, or as a seasoning for meat or roasted vegetables.
- 6 oz fresh arugula
- ½ C walnuts
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
- ¼ C olive oil
- cold water as needed to reach desired consistency
- Combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil and water in a food processor or a blender. Blend until coarsely chopped.
- While the food processor or blender is blending, pour in ¼ C of olive oil. This will make a thicker pesto. Add water, 1 Tbsp at a time, for a thinner pesto until the consistency you desire is reached. You can use olive oil instead of water for a more silky and richer pesto with the understanding that the fat content will increase.
- Use immediately for best results. It can be stored for a few days in your refrigerator with a layer of olive oil poured on top, but will start to turn brown. This pesto can also be frozen and stored for a few months.