Baby Arugula Pesto

baby arugula

Think of this post as less of a recipe post (after all, it’s pesto, not rocket science) and more of an idea post—sharing something I’ve made in my kitchen recently and been able to use in a number of subsequent dishes.


Often times, our energy in the kitchen is spent laboring over a single dish, enjoyed only in the moment, and possibly in the form of leftovers the following day.

That is exactly why I love pesto so much.  It can be used in so many ways.  It can be a dish unto itself, but also enhance even the simplest of dishes, making them that much more special.  While I have a personal affinity to traditional pesto made with basil, this is my new favorite alternative.  Not only is fresh baby arugula incredibly easy to find, even during these cold winter months, it also comes pre-washed, which as we all know is the most time consuming part of making pesto anyway.

baby arugula pesto

Pesto is the simplest of sauces, but probably one of the most versatile.  Tossed with some fresh or boxed pasta, you have the quickest of weeknight meals…

However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. My personal favorite ways to use pesto, include stirring it into freshly scrambled eggs in the morning, dolloping it onto homemade pizza, and spreading it onto freshly baked bread for your next sandwich or grilled cheese.  You really can’t go wrong. 

parmigiano reggiano

Other ideas, just to name a few, include adding a spoonful to your favorite vinaigrette or hummus dip, using as a garnish on vegetable or minestrone soup, or simply as an add-in to your favorite homemade meatballs.

You could even toss it with roasted winter vegetables or stir into your favorite mashed potatoes for a nice side dish!  Is anyone else getting hungry? 

Without further ado, here’s the recipe! 

baby arugula pesto

Baby Arugula Pesto

Yield: 1 Cup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Print Print Recipe


  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated manchego cheese
  • 1/4 grated grano padano or parmigiano-reggiano cheese (feel free to use just one cheese or the other, if necessary)
  • 5 ounces baby arugula
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. In a food processor, pulse garlic clove several times until roughly minced.
  2. Add lemon juice, pine nuts, olive oil, and arugula and continue to pulse until mixture becomes smooth.
  3. Remove mixture to separate bowl and fold in cheese.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pesto can be stored in refrigerator for 2-3 days. If freezing, make pesto without the cheese, cover with a thin layer of olive oil and it can last for up to a month—defrost overnight and add cheese right before serving.

Ohhh, the possibilities…

ways to use pesto


6 Responses to “Baby Arugula Pesto”

  1. #
    Pippa@sundaysupperswithpippa — January 28, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

    Interesting that you used Manchego, do you like it better with the arugula for some reason?! I love the pinenut photo!

  2. #
    Veronica — January 29, 2013 @ 9:41 am

    Thanks so much for this recipe. I *adore* arugula pesto on a good omelet.

  3. #
    Saucy Spatula — January 29, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

    I really like that used-looking chopping board!

  4. #
    Laura @ Blogging Over Thyme — January 30, 2013 @ 7:55 pm

    Pippa — I used Manchego, because I happened to have it in the fridge, but I think since it's a bit creamier than parmesan, it helps cut some of the "grassiness" of the arugula, if that makes any sense. I think it could definitely be fine with both though!

    Veronica — Yum!! Me too.

    Saucy Spatula — I actually got the cutting board, which is a small butcher block, on a whim from BB&B. It's thick/heavy enough that it doesn't move around on my counter tops (key!) and is nice for photography. I've been really happy with it, even though I don't tend to buy much kitchen stuff at that store.

  5. #
    Caitlin — February 5, 2014 @ 11:45 am

    Hello! First I’d like to say that reading your story is very inspiring; I’ve always toyed with the idea of using my love of food for a job, and it’s good to hear someone have some success.

    Second, I have a question about this recipe: is there any possible substitute for the pine nuts? My roommate has a pine nut issue, but this sounds so good I’d love to make it for our apartment.

    • Laura replied: — February 5th, 2014 @ 9:55 pm

      Thank you so much Caitlin! It’s been a long journey–but I have no regrets. YES–you could definitely leave the pine nuts out–or substitute them with another nut, I would suggest walnuts maybe. Hope this helps!

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