Arugula Pesto is a very decent, super tasty and much more affordable alternative to your traditional basil pesto! Served with pasta, paired with sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts, it makes for a truly winning combination.
If you’ve ever made traditional basil pesto from scratch, then you know just how expensive this can get. Especially if you don’t happen to be growing your own basil… Indeed, this highly aromatic and delicate herb can become quite pricey if you have to buy it at the grocery store, and LOADS are needed to make a good pesto.
Arugula Pesto is a very economical and equally tasty alternative, if you ask me! Of course, the flavor is not exactly the same as the original, but it’s still very flavorful, super fresh and crazy simple to make. This version also uses walnuts instead of the super pricey pine nuts that traditional pesto calls for. I chose to save the precious nuts and use them whole as a key player in the dish itself. They’re put to much better use that way, trust me! At least you get to fully appreciate their creamy texture and rich buttery flavor!
The addition of a handful of sun dried tomatoes puts the finishing touch on this quick, easy and unpretentious pasta dish. Really, it’s simplicity at its best!
You should start by making your arugula pesto so you are certain that it is good and ready to use by the time your pasta is cooked. Mind you, it is fairly quick and easy to make, so you could totally get the water going while you do that!
Then, combine the arugula, walnuts, garlic, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (if using) in your high speed blender or food processor.
Turn the motor on and while it is running, start pouring the olive oil in gradually.
Note that if you are using a high speed blender, you may have to stop pouring the oil about half-way and push down on the ingredients with the tamper to help get things going…
Once the ingredients are well blended and your pesto looks nice and smooth, remove the lid and add the grated Parmesan cheese, then pulse once or twice just to mix it in.
Your arugula pesto is now finished and ready to use! Put it aside while you take care of the pasta.
You want to cook your pasta in plenty of salted boiling water and, as soon as it’s cooked to your liking, drain it real quick and return it to the pot immediately.
Immediately dump the arugula pesto over the pasta…
… and mix delicately with a fork until all the pasta is evenly coated.
Stir in the chopped sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts…
Serve immediately, garnished with more chopped sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, micro-greens and fresh tomato wedges, if desired.
Note that this dish is best eaten fresh as it does not reheat very well, so you best make it at the last possible minute!
If you’ve tried this recipe, or any other recipe on the blog, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and TWITTER for more delicious, healthy recipes!
Arugula Pesto Linguine with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts
For the arugula pesto
- Combine all the ingredients for the pesto except for the olive oil and cheese in a high speed blender or food processor. Turn the motor on and while it is running, pour the olive oil in gradually.*
- Once the ingredients are well blended and pesto looks smooth, remove the lid and add the cheese, then pulse once or twice just to mix it in. Set aside.
Bring plenty of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta until cooked to your liking, then drain quickly and return to the pot.
Immediately dump the pesto over the pasta and mix until all the pasta is evenly coated, then stir in chopped sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts.
- Serve immediately, garnished with more chopped sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, micro-greens and fresh tomato wedges, if desired.
- This dish is best eaten fresh as it does not reheat very well.
*You may have to stop pouring the oil about half-way and push down on the ingredients with the tamper to get things going if using a high speed blender.