I’ve been finding myself eating a lot of pesto lately, mainly because I love my food processor, but also because it’s super easy to make and play around with the ingredients. That’s a pretty big plus because traditional pesto calls for pine nuts, and I’m not sure how many people buy pine nuts on a regular basis, but they are SO expensive! I like to buy few once in a while but I can’t see buying cups of them just to live in the shadows of basil.
Walnuts are relatively cheaper, I think they’re super tasty, and they have a pretty distinct flavour. You could toast them for a bit before you throw them into this and I’m sure it would give you a really different pesto-experience, but I was lazy and just popped them in the food processor.
But hey, how exciting is arugula? It’s like lettuce, but way better. Actually I take that back – it’s not a lettuce at all. First of all, it’s so much better than lettuce – but I think it’s a member of the mustard green family which may explain why it has that amazing peppery taste. It’s also super duper versatile. I’m not even lying, there’s a reason it’s a superfood (besides the fact that it’s a cancer fighting food!!!). You can make salads, you can saute it, roast it, mix it with grains, substitute spinach with it in pretty much anything, sandwiches, make pesto (duh), and I won’t lie, my all time favourite way to use it is putting it on pizza. If you have not tried this, you need to. I know this has nothing to do with pesto, but this has suddenly become important. Next time you make pizza, you make it with tomato sauce, cheese, your veggie toppings and prosciutto, and then when you take that baby out of the oven you top it with fresh arugula and balsamic. Every other pizza will seem inferior after you try it, trust me.
So anyways, getting back on track – my other favourite way to use arugula is definitely this pesto. The arugula adds a great peppery-ness to it, and the walnuts compliment it really nicely. And no surprises, I add lots of lemon. I bet you saw that coming though because you are all so amazing and read through all my blabber, which means you’ve probably read my pistachio mint pesto recipe where I confessed my undying love for lemon. Like any pesto, you can play with the flavours. Add more garlic or cheese, more or less lemon, omit the cheese completely if you’re vegan (or sub with vegan parm), and add more or less oil to get the consistency that you like – this is your pesto after all!
And as I’ve talked about before, pesto is so versatile, you can put it on ANYTHING. It’s also a wonderful sauce to keep on hand in your freezer. On Friday we ate this plain on bread with some cheese and wine. When I got home, I spread it on puff pastry with some cheese and baked it into pinwheels. I took the leftovers (this makes a good size batch!) and have it in the freezer stored next to my other pestos for quick use! What a superhero sauce!
Remember – pesto is the besto!
Arugula Walnut Pesto
- 84 g. fresh basil
- 2 1/2 cups fresh arugula
- 1 cup walnuts (toasted or non toasted)
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Juice from 1/2 lemon to whole lemon (depending on your taste)
- 2-3 cloves garlic (to taste)
- Cracked black pepper (to taste)
- Olive oil (or avocado oil/water) to blend to consistency
Add basil, arugula, walnuts, cheese, lemon zest and juice, garlic and pepper to blender or food processor (again, you can play with the ratios to your own taste and preference, I love the lemon taste with the arugula but have fun with it)and blend together until it becomes a fine, paste like mixture.
While still blending, drizzle in oil (or oil alternative) through the spout of your food processor until everything is finely blended and you have your desired consistency. I like it heavier and thicker for pasta and spreading, and thinner for dressings or to drizzle! Keep leftovers stored in freezer* for quick use!
*freeze in ice cube trays then store in ziploc bags for quick, single sized cubes of pesto*