This lemon arugula pesto with walnuts takes only minutes to whip up and uses a handful of wholesome, simple ingredients. There’s lots of baby arugula, fresh lemon juice, Parmesan and walnuts. Try this walnut pesto with pasta, on eggs or even mixed with mayo for a sandwich spread!
This arugula pesto recipe was originally posted in November 2015 and has been updated with new pictures and recipes details.
I don’t know about you, but I love pesto and I love arugula. Arugula is so fresh and peppery and its flavour profile is so unique.
The thing is, though, that I find that the shelf life of arugula is not very long, especially when I buy one of those huge tubs.
Even if I cover the leaves with some brown paper to absorb excess moisture, it’s freshness disappears faster than cupcakes placed in front of me. Feel me? The struggle is real.
The great thing about this arugula pesto recipe (beside the incredible taste, of course) is that it’s budget friendly. It’s made with walnuts instead of pine nuts (which are more traditional for pesto). Though they’re delicious, pine nuts are considerably more expensive.
By using walnuts, you still end up with a fabulous pesto while not breaking the bank. Plus, walnuts are pretty delicious in their own right.
Essentially with any pesto, you’ll find:
- Some herbs/greens, like basil (or in this case baby arugula). You can even make pesto with kale and parsley. The options are pretty much endless!
- A nut, like pine nuts or walnuts (as in this case of this arugula pesto).
- Olive oil (use a quality product here). This is not the time to skimp.
- Parmesan cheese. Real Parmesan, not that powdered stuff.
- Salt & pepper
I also used lemon juice in this arugula pesto recipe because it is a lemon arugula pesto.
How to Make Arugula Pesto
Once you make your own homemade pesto recipe, there’s no going back to store bought. It’s easy!
So, to make homemade pesto:
- In a food processor add baby arugula, salt, pepper and garlic. Blend! Stop to scrape the goodness off the sides of the processor with a spatula.
- While the blender is going again, slowly pour in lemon juice and olive oil. Again, stop to scrape the sides of the processor.
- Finally, blend in Parmesan cheese and walnuts. I like to leave a little texture here so I don’t blend until completely smooth. You do whatever you like best!
Full details are in the recipe card below.
How Long Does It Last
Properly stored (covered) in the fridge, homemade pesto will last about 5 days.
Can I Freeze It?
Yes! Indeed you can! There are different ways to freeze pesto:
- Pour pesto into an ice-cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, store in a freezer-safe bag.
- Place wax paper on a baking tray and spoon little blobs on there. Freeze and then, once frozen, store in a freezer-safe bag.
- Use this sheet pan method to freeze pesto.
Whatever method you use, don’t forget to label your bag with what it is and the date it was made. Thaw desired portion when ready to use. Enjoy within 4 to 5 months for best freshness.
How to Use
- Of course the number one choice I would say here is the obvious one: stir into cooked pasta. Delicious! It’s great with this pesto pasta salad recipe.
- Dollop some on grilled steak
- Mix with mayo or Greek yogurt as a sandwich spread
- Dabble over freshly baked pizza or use as a pizza base
- So yummy over white fish, like cod, haddock or halibut
- Enjoy with eggs
More Recipe Tips
I prefer to use baby arugula in this recipe. The leaves are tender and flavourful.
Measuring out 3 ounces (or about 3 to 4 loosely packed arugula leaves) may be a tad difficult if you don’t have a scale. If your pesto is too thick, add a little more oil to loosen. If it’s too thin, add a tad more arugula.
I don’t like things too salty. Though, there’s salt and Parmesan cheese in this pesto (and enough for me), if you want a tad more salt, simply add some to taste.
I don’t like to blend the walnuts too much; I like a little texture. However, if you like your pesto a little smoother, just blend a little more.
Other Easy Recipes Using Arugula
Hope you love this arugula pesto as much as we do!
If you make this easy pesto recipe, please leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed!
Arugula Pesto with Walnuts
- 3 ounces arugula (about 3 to 4 loosely packed cups)
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- To a mini food processor, add arugula, salt, pepper and garlic. Pulse a few times until blended. Stop and scrape sides of processor, as necessary, with a spatula.
- With the processor going, drizzle in lemon juice and olive oil. Stop and scrape sides of the processor again.
- Add walnuts and Parmesan cheese and pulse another couple of times. I like some texture in the pesto so I don't pulse the walnuts too much, but you can blend until you have reached the consistency that works for you. Recipe yields about one cup. Enjoy immediately or pour into a storage jar, cover, refrigerate and enjoy within 5 days.
- I prefer to use baby arugula in this recipe. The leaves are tender and flavourful.
- Measuring out 3 ounces (or about 3 to 4 loosely packed arugula leaves) may be a tad difficult if you don’t have a scale. If your pesto is too thick, add a little more oil to loosen or thin. If it’s too thin, add a tad more arugula.
- I don’t like things too salty. Though, there’s salt and parmesan cheese in this pesto (and enough for me), if you want a tad more salt, simply add some to taste.
- I don’t like to blend the walnuts too much; I like a little texture. However, if you like your pesto a little smoother, just blend a little more.
Nutrition estimate (if provided) is based on 1 Serving.
Nutrition information (if provided) is provided as a courtesy and should be considered an estimate only. Ingredients can vary and Girl Heart Food makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are guidelines only.