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Toasted almond and arugula pesto in a mason jar surrounded by various ingredients

Toasted Almond and Arugula Pesto

This peppery arugula pesto with toasted almonds makes a fantastic condiment for use in seafood recipes, as sauce in pasta, or as a spread for crackers, sandwiches, and other appetizers.

Arugula (also known as rocket in the UK), is a delicious, peppery little green most often grown as a micro-green and used in salads. While the peppery-ness can be quite strong at first, (especially if you’ve never had arugula before), it makes a great contrast to sweet flavors and can add some kick to bland or mild dishes.A metal bowl filled with fresh picked local arugula

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Arugula Pesto Uses

Personally, I love eating arugula fresh and usually add it into my mixed greens from the garden to add a little zest and flavor to my salads. A simple roasted garlic vinaigrette is all that’s needed to add some sweetness, to balance the sharpness of the arugula.

A very hardy and easy to grow green, arugula makes an excellent addition to any backyard salad garden, and grows really well in a cold frame or raised garden bed. If you have to much arugula on hand though, what do you do with it all? I usually run into this problem once a year as the arugula grows faster then I can pick it before it fully matures.

freshly made toasted almond and arugula pesto dripping from a spoon

This results in me harvesting pretty much all of it and turning what I don’t use in salads into arugula pesto! Since the arugula pesto freezes very well, I keep some in the fridge and freeze the rest for use throughout the winter. The pesto is great as a quick ‘sauce” in simple pasta dishes, served with salmon, or as a base for finger foods and other appetizers.

For best results when freezing any kind of pesto, I would recommend vacuum sealing the pesto into bags with a vacuum sealer (affiliate link) and freezing it in flat slabs. This makes thawing small bags easy, and the pesto lasts for over 6 months!

My Super Easy Arugula Pesto Recipe

Luckily, arugula pesto is extremely easy to make, even more so if you have a food processor or Vitamix blender.

Simply combine all the ingredients and BAM! You got yourself some fresh homemade pesto.

If you prefer a nut free arugula pesto, simply leave out the toasted almonds! – Chef Markus Mueller

You’ll need:

  • 1 lb fresh arugula greens
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds or slivered almonds,
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 1 cup olive oil

Making Pesto Like The Pros

If you want to make a super bright green pesto, and do it like chefs do in a restaurant, keep reading, Otherwise skip ahead to the rest of the recipe instructions. The secret to a bright green pesto, is to blanch some of the greens. Blanching is the process of very quickly shocking the greens, or vegetables in boiling water for a second or two, and then immediately plunging it into ice water to stop it from over cooking.

This action stops the greens from losing their color by stopping the natural enzymes from breaking down. It also has the side effect of brightening the greens, hence the bright green pesto color! If you where making basil pesto and wanted this same result, I wouldn’t blanch the basil itself, but would blanch a small amount of spinach, and add that to the pesto for color.

Arugula Pesto Instructions

This is the easy part. If you decided to blanch the arugula first as described above, good for you! Otherwise, it’s no big deal, your pesto will just turn out a darker green color.

Start by toasting the almonds, either whole or slivered, in a dry pan in the oven on 350F. Keep an eye on them, as you don’t want them to burn! it should only take about 5 minutes or so, especially if using slivered almonds. Once the almonds are a light golden brown, and have a nutty smell, remove them from the oven and cool them completely.

While the nuts are toasting, you can blanch the arugula, or measure out the rest of the ingredients.

all ingredients needed to make arugula pesto in a blender

Place all the ingredients except the oil, in a food processor, mixer, or blender, and pulse until well combined. Add one third of the oil to the mix, and blitz it again. It should start to emulsify and become smooth. Slowly add the rest of the oil until a thick creamy texture is reached. If you don’t need to use quite all of the oil that’s fine. It should be pretty close though!

Storing The Pesto

To store the pesto simply portion it into little mason jars or other glass containers. Old pasta sauce or jam jars work great for this. If you plan on freezing the pesto, store it flat in ziploc bags or vacuum seal it into small bags. You could also choose to process the pesto in mason jars (canning them) to allow for long term storage in a cool cellar.

Toasted almond and arugula pesto in a mason jar surrounded by various ingredients

Have you ever made your own pesto?? Comment & let me know what you thought of this recipe below, then take a picture and tag me on Facebook & Instagram: @earthfoodandfire . For more from scratch recipes follow me on Instagram & Pinterest

Toasted almond and arugula pesto in a mason jar surrounded by various ingredients
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5 from 8 votes

Toasted Almond and Arugula Pesto

With a nutty and peppery kick, this simple arugula pesto is a great way to season seafood dishes, pastas, or used as a condiment for meat platters.
Course Condiment
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword how do you make your own pesto, how do you store pesto, what can you use arugula pesto for, what does arugula pesto taste like
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Servings 4 cups
Calories 2294kcal
Author Chef Markus Mueller

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh arugula greens
  • 1/2 whole lemon juiced
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds or slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 1 cup olive oil

Instructions

Blanching The Greens (Optional)

  • Very quickly shock the greens, in boiling water for a second or two, and then immediately plunging it into ice water to stop the arugula from over cooking. This results in a bright green pesto.

Pesto Instructions

  • Start by toasting the almonds, either whole or slivered, in a dry pan in the oven on 350F. It should only take about 5 minutes or so. Once the almonds are a light golden brown, and have a nutty smell, remove them from the oven and cool them completely.
  • While the nuts are toasting, you can blanch the arugula as described above. This step is optional.
  • Measure out the rest of the ingredients.
  • Place all the ingredients except the oil, in a food processor, mixer, or blender, and pulse until well combined.
  • Add one third of the oil to the mix, and blitz it again. Slowly add the rest of the oil until a thick creamy texture is reached.

Storing The Arugula Pesto

  • To store the pesto simply portion it into little mason jars or other glass containers. If you plan on freezing the pesto, store it flat in ziploc bags or vacuum seal it into small bags.

Notes

If you decide not to blanch the arugula and simple blitz everything together it's no big deal, your pesto will just turn out a darker green color.
When storing the pesto in mason jars you could choose to process the pesto in mason jars (canning them) to allow for long term storage in a cool cellar.

Related Posts

With a nutty and peppery kick, this simple arugula pesto is a great way to season seafood dishes, pastas or as a condiment for meat platters. #arugula #pesto #condiments

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11 Comments

  1. I love a good homemade pesto recipe and this one sounds delicious!

  2. Wow, what a gorgeous combination to create a pesto! I love arugula love this is right up my street. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hey Markus, thank you for the great tip about blanching the greens to keep the bright green color. My clean eating arugula pesto is quite similar to yours regarding ingredients, but with your blanching tip I’ll finally achieve also an attractive green color.

  4. This is my kind of pesto, almonds are a great way to add healthy protein. I am making this soon.

  5. Cindy Gordon

    This pesto sounds amazingly delicious! And so easy to make!

  6. The combination of arugula with almonds sounds amazing! I have to try this one soon!

  7. I love arugula! I even grow it on my balcony in a pot and it does quite well. I will have to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I love arugula, but have never made pesto with it. It must sure be bursting with flavours. I bookmarked your recipe to try it out. Thanks for sharing.

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