Is there anything better than homemade Arugula Pesto? I doubt it.
I’m a big believer in prepping sauces, dips, and dressings to keep on hand in my freezer and fridge—it’s one of the keys to whipping up quick and easy meals when I don’t have time or the energy to cook. That’s why I devoted a whole “Get Set” chapter in my latest cookbook, Ready or Not!, to all the make-ahead stuff you need to cook effortlessly anytime, from All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce and Green Beast Dressing to XO Sauce and Sriracha Ranch Dressing.
And while you won’t find this Arugula Pesto in my book, it’s an excellent example of a simple and versatile flavor booster that takes your food from ho-hum to nomtastic in no time flat.
Classic pesto is made with basil leaves, pine nuts, parmesan and pecorino cheese, crushed garlic, salt, and olive oil, but cheese ain’t Paleo, pine nuts require a special trip to the grocery store, and in the wintertime, fresh, in-season basil is hard to come by. Luckily, spicy arugula and slivered almonds make tasty pinch hitters. This Paleo, Whole30, and even vegan-friendly Arugula Pesto freezes really well, so if you plan ahead, you can pop out a cube of pesto whenever you need it!
Time to make Arugula Pesto!
Makes 1 cup
- 2 cups tightly packed arugula
- 1 cup tightly packed Italian parsley
- ½ cup toasted almond slivers
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
- 1 medium garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Food processor or blender
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Silicone spatula
- Oxo silicone ice cube molds
In a food processor or blender, combine the arugula, parsley, almonds, capers, and garlic cloves.
Add the lemon juice.
Pulse until finely chopped, scraping the sides down if needed.
Then, while the food processor is running, pour the olive oil through the feed tube.
Process until smooth (or your desired chunkiness). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Arugula Pesto can be refrigerated for 4 days or frozen in ice cube trays for up to 6 months. (You won’t be sorry if you decide to double the recipe!)
So what are some things you can do with this magical green awesomeness?
Personally, I recommend that you toss a heaping spoonful of Arugula Pesto on just about anything, and it’ll make your final dish taste incredible. Try it on roasted vegetables, Pressure Cooker Crispy Potatoes, Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash, cubed roast chicken (like Weeknight Roast Chicken), Pan-Seared Salmon, Meatza, or scrambled eggs. You can also whisk the pesto with mayonnaise, and you’ll end up with a tasty dipping sauce for crudités!
Still scratching your head about what to do with this Arugula Pesto? Okay—here’s how I use it to make one of my favorite no-cook meals:
Spiralize your favorite vegetable (e.g. zucchini, parsnip, kohlrabi, carrot, etc.) and toss the veggie noodles in a bowl. Yep, I don’t even bother with cooking them. Then, add a dollop of Arugula Pesto…
…some leftover cooked protein (e.g. chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, etc.), and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and chow down!
This particular bowl was thrown together with uncooked parsnip noodles (PARSNIP + PASTA = PARSTA!), leftover sous vide chicken breast, Arugula Pesto, and a sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper!
Remember: This is just one example of what you can do with Arugula Pesto. The possibilities (pesto-bilities?) are endless!
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2021).
PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD
- In a food processor or blender, combine the arugula, parsley, almonds, capers, garlic cloves, and lemon juice. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping the sides down if needed.
- Then, while the food processor is running, pour the olive oil through the feed tube.
- Process until smooth (or your desired chunkiness). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Arugula Pesto can be refrigerated for 4 days or frozen in ice cube trays for up to 6 months. (You won’t be sorry if you decide to double the recipe!)