Arugula Pesto

I am totally ready for fall.  I stocked up on cans of pumpkin puree, I have recipes lined up for butternut squash, and I’m making big batches of soup to warm me up at the end of the day.  I am so ready to embrace my favorite season with a whole bunch of season-appropriate posts.  But…it will have to wait.

You see, I’ve discovered this lovely little hole-in-the-wall produce store two blocks from me.  It’s the kind of place that seems to have everything you need right now, and a whole bunch of things you had no idea you needed but suddenly realize you must have.  It’s not terribly pricey, it’s closer than the super market a mile away, and it always carries a great selection of locally sourced produce.  And the best part of this store is that no matter what I buy, I have a ten minute conversation with the owner about what I’m making and how, and then we exchange recipes.  I think I’m in love.

So the other day I walked into this amazing little store, walked straight to the section where they have locally grown produce, and saw these inconspicuous, unmarked bags full of beautiful, fresh arugula.  I LOVE arugula.  How could I resist?  So I bought a bag.  Then a few days later, another one.  And before I knew it, I was up to my ears in arugula (not that I’m complaining – it’s my favorite of the salad greens).

Anyway, I took the opportunity to make a recipe I’ve been thinking about for a while.  I decided to make a pesto out of arugula.  And I am so happy I did.  This pesto has the peppery bite of arugula, which I cannot get enough of, a hint of garlic, and a splash of lemon juice to brighten the whole thing up.  I always try to keep the oil content down by adding it in a little at a time until I have just enough, so it’s not a very heavy sauce.  It’s basically everything I love about arugula, in spreadable form.

Plus, it’s such a great color!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I plan on spending the next week spreading this pesto on toast, adding it to sandwiches, and tossing it with pasta.  And then I plan on making some more.  But I promise, good pumpkin things are in the works, and fall will be properly welcomed.  Just not this week.

Arugula Pesto

Makes about 1 cup

5 cups arugula, packed
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup walnuts
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place walnuts and garlic into the bowl of a food processor and process until a crumbly paste forms.

2. Add in the arugula (you might have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your food processor), lemon juice, and olive oil.  I like to start with 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil, then add more a tablespoon at a time, as needed.  Mix until smooth and well incorporated.

3. Taste the pesto, then add nutritional yeast (if desired) and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix until incorporated.

Use the pesto on toast, in sandwiches, toss it with pasta, or freeze it for future use.  Enjoy!

4 Responses to Arugula Pesto

  1. wow this looks and sounds amazing!! i could eat it all day long. mmm

  2. Eileen says:

    This pesto sounds amazing! I want to whack it all over a plate of pasta ASAP. 🙂

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