Sauces

Arugula pistachio pesto

21 April 2021 | Last Updated: 11 May 2021 By Aleksandra

Arugula pistachio pesto is a great twist on the classic basil pesto. It’s peppery, nutty, and cheesy. It will be great as a pasta sauce or a salad dressing (for example arugula salad!). I combined arugula with pistachios – their unique taste works best here. If you have some leftover arugula that you don’t know what to do with – this recipe is perfect.

Seriously, there are so many ingredients you can make pesto with! Try my parsley pesto, ramp pesto, or celery leaf pesto.

Arugula pistachio pesto in a green bowl topped with arugula leaves and pistachios.

Ingredients:

Here’s what you need to make arugula pistachio pesto:

  • arugula – arugula tastes a little bit bitter and peppery so make sure to make this pesto if you really like it, if its taste is too strong for you, you can add half arugula and half basil leaves
  • pistachios – I think this recipe works best with pistachios (salted and roasted) but if you don’t have them on hand you can easily substitute them with cashews or almonds
  • parmesan cheese – use just parmesan or a mix of parmesan and pecorino (this is an aged sheep’s cheese similar to parmesan but made with sheep milk), I have also once added a mix of parmesan and gruyere and it was also delicious
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • lemon juice and zest to brighten it up!

You could also add some red pepper flakes.

Labeled ingredients for arugula pistachio pesto.

Step by step instructions

This is a complete recipe. Scroll down for printable recipe card and ingredient list.

The simplest way to make any pesto is to throw all the ingredients into a food processor or a blender and mix until smooth. High-speed blenders may cause the olive oil to taste a little bitter so I like to take a two-step approach when making my pesto. I blend all the ingredients together at high speed without the olive oil, then mix in the olive oil at very low speed. It’s also possible that you won’t taste the difference between these two methods, so choose what works best for you!

Ingredients for arugula pesto in a food processor bowl. Ground ingredients for pesto in food processor.

STEP 1: Wash the arugula in cold water and spin dry in a salad spinner (optional, you can just drain it well if you don’t have a salad spinner). You will need about 4.4 oz (125g) arugula, which are 5 cups packed leaves.

Add all the ingredients (1 cup (90g) grated Parmesan cheese, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup (60g) shelled roasted and salted pistachios, zest of 1 lemon, 2 teaspoons lemon juice), except the olive oil, to a food processor bowl.

STEP 2: Pulse until a thick paste forms (scrape the ingredients from the sides of the bowl from time to time). I like my pesto rather chunky, just can make it more smooth by mixing the ingredients longer.

Olive oil is being added to the food processor bowl. Arugula pesto on a spoon, food processor in the background.

STEP 3: Add the olive oil (1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp or 135ml) and pulse the sauce at the lowest speed until well combined or whisk in the olive oil by hand.

STEP 4: Season to taste with salt and pepper (be careful, the cheese is already salty). You can also add more olive oil if you want a thinner consistency of your pesto.

Enjoy!

Arugula pistachio pesto in a green bowl, topped with parmesan, arugula leaves and pistachios.

How to use up pesto:

Storage and freezing:

This arugula pesto will keep up in the fridge for up to 3 days (stored in a tightly closed container or tightly covered with plastic foil). If you want to keep it longer, pour a small layer of olive oil on top of the pesto. This way you can keep it in the fridge for up to a week.

Pesto freezes very well. Freeze it up to 6 months.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Arugula pistachio pesto

Arugula pistachio pesto is a great twist on the classic basil pesto. It’s peppery, nutty, and cheesy. It will be great as a pasta sauce or a salad dressing.
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Arugula pistachio pesto in a green bowl.
Print Recipe
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1.5 cups
Calories 1768kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 4.4 oz (125g) arugula, 5 cups packed leaves
  • 1 cup (90g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup (60g) shelled roasted and salted pistachios
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp olive oil 135ml
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Wash the arugula in cold water and spin dry in a salad spinner (optional, you can just drain it well if you don’t have a salad spinner).
  • Add all the ingredients, except the olive oil, to a food processor bowl. Pulse until a thick paste forms (scrape the ingredients from the sides of the bowl from time to time).
  • Add the olive oil and pulse the sauce at the lowest speed until well combined or whisk in the olive oil by hand.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. You can also add more olive oil if you want a thinner consistency of your pesto.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Ingredient notes:
    • arugula – arugula tastes a little bit bitter and peppery so make sure to make this pesto if you really like it, if its taste is too strong for you, you can add half arugula and half basil leaves
    • pistachios – I think this recipe works best with pistachios (salted and roasted) but if you don’t have them on hand you can easily substitute them with cashews or almonds
    • parmesan cheese – use just parmesan or a mix of parmesan and pecorino (this is an aged sheep’s cheese similar to parmesan but made with sheep milk), I have also once added a mix of parmesan and gruyere and it was also delicious
    • you could also add some red pepper flakes.
  • You will need about 9 oz (255g) spaghetti for 1 1/2 cups pesto.
  • Calories = whole recipe. This is only an estimate!
Course condiment, sauce
Cuisine Italian-inspired
Keyword arugula pesto, arugula pesto recipe, arugula pistachio pesto

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