Arugula pesto A delicious all-season alternative to the classic basil spaghetti sauce

Arugula pesto

Next time you’re making pesto, consider the winning combo of arugula and almonds

Basil pesto is, of course, the Grande Dame of pesto sauces, but many other herbs make wonderful versions of this classic Genoese sauce, like today’s arugula pesto, or this mint-walnut pesto. Arugula is a bit spunky by nature and has a distinct spicy flavor – two things that make it an excellent candidate for a unique pesto.

This simple sauce won’t turn brown like regular pesto!

But there are two other things that make arugula pesto stand apart: arugula is available all year long so it’s a great substitute for when basil is not in season and you’re having a pesto-craving… and it doesn’t oxidize – the sauce stays bright green even days after it’s made.

More pesto recipes

Basil pesto – One that will stay bright green too!
Kale pesto
Ramp pesto
Mint-walnut pesto

Reggiano Parmesan

Arugula pesto

makes 1 1/4 cups
active time: 15 min

  1. 4 oz (115 g) arugula – rinsed and spin-dried
  2. 1 large garlic clove – skinned
  3. 1/3 cup blanched, sliced almonds
  4. 1/4 cup freshly grated Reggiano Parmesan
  5. 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  6. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  7. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  8. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until it forms a creamy paste, about 2 to 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl once. Transfer to a bowl, cover and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  2. Cook’s note: Refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

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Arugula pesto

sauces, pesto, arugula

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  • Reply Nancy/SpicieFoodie June 11, 2016 at 4:31 am

    I have wanted to use arugula for pesto for so long — your recipe is a reminder to get on it fast. This looks delectable, Viviane!

  • Reply Evelyne CulturEatz June 6, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    What agorgeous color, I had no idead it did not oxidize! Really great idea to play up the classic pesto. I keep wanting to use arugula for diferent recipes, this is it!

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre June 6, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      Thank you so much, Evelyne! So glad you love this pesto… truly delicious!

  • Reply Liz June 5, 2016 at 1:53 am

    I’ve only made basil pesto, but now I’m intrigued! I love the peppery flavor of arugula, so I have a feeling I’d love this!

  • Reply Riley June 24, 2012 at 10:50 am

    This looks even better than regular ole basil pesto. Yum, thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. June 20, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I love pesto. It has so many great uses! Love that you used arugula!

  • Reply Cucina49 June 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I’ve made lots of different pestos, but not with arugula. What a great idea, and you’re right, perfect for when basil isn’t available.

  • Reply CCU June 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I love this twist on pesto my friend, it sounds and looks refreshing and delicious 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  • Reply Kelly June 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    This looks absolutely wonderful, I love your recipe! 🙂

  • Reply Deb June 20, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Arugula pesto is stellar! Your recipe is very enticing with the addition of Romano cheese that can easily share the stage with the arugulas spicy flavor. A splendid robust recipe for early summer!

    • Reply Viviane June 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      Thank you so much Deb! I do love the Romano cheese in this pesto – it gives it an extra kick.

  • Reply Hester aka The Chef Doc July 14, 2011 at 12:54 am

    I love non-basil pestos! Don’t get me wrong–I love basil but being non-traditional is fun, too 🙂 I love arugula pesto! It’s peppery bite in pesto form will add to any dish!

  • Reply Kelly July 3, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Your arugula pesto looks wonderful and I love that you brought in almond for taste and texture. It bet the cheeses taste great, too. Lovely!

  • Reply Viviane June 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Eating deliciously, Briarrose, Kay, Thank you for your wonderful comments – very glad you enjoyed the pesto recipe…

    Kay, it’s my pleasure! Your enchilada recipe is wonderful. I love the way you fry everything in your wok!

  • Reply Kay Ecker June 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Your pesto looks great! I just made pesto for the 2nd time just the other day with basil. It’s nice that the arugula one doesn’t oxidize and the color stays so bright. Nice photo too, the green is so vibrant. Thanks for the nice compliment on my Enchilada post :o)


  • Reply briarrose June 22, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Gorgeous pesto. I love the use of arugula.

  • Reply Eating Deliciously June 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I am a huge fan of pesto. Looking forward to trying this version with arugula.

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