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!
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.
- Baby arugula
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Lemon juice
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. Process until combined. 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.
Storing and Enjoying the Pesto
Properly store the homemade pesto in a storage jar in the fridge, and enjoy within 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, remove the cubes of pesto from the ice-cube tray and store in a freezer-safe bag.
- Place some wax paper on a baking tray and spoon little blobs of pesto 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.
Ways To Use Pesto
- Use in pasta salad
- 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 Easy Recipes Using Arugula
If you make this arugula pesto recipe, be sure to leave a comment below!
This recipe was originally published in November 2015 but has been updated.
Arugula Pesto With Walnuts
- 3 ounces baby arugula, about 3 to 4 loosely packed cups
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- To a mini food processor, add arugula, salt, black 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.Note: 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.
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are estimates only.
Tried this recipe?
If you do make this recipe, thank you!! It would mean so much if you could leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed it, and it helps other readers too!