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Arugula Pistachio Pesto

Arugula Pistachio Pesto

I’m such a tease.

Little did I know when I posted my tips for homemade frozen pizza, that all you really wanted was the recipe for the pesto I used to make the “hers” version.

If I share the recipe, will you forgive me?

Arugula Pistachio Pesto

I’ve been kind of crazy about this arugula pesto lately. Maybe it’s a basil-deficiency in my blood stream, or summer herb withdrawal syndrome. But tossing a handful of bright green rocket into the food processor instead seemed like the right thing to do.

I’ve probably made it a dozen times. I’ve smeared it on pizza. Tossed it with pasta. Slathered it on burgers. And, of course, spread it on some freshly toasted bruschetta with goat cheese. I’ve made it with walnuts, almonds, pistachios and pine nuts… added cheese and garlic and lemon. Spiced it up with red pepper flakes. But this. This is probably my favorite version.

Arugula Pesto and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Even though I expect my freshly planted basil to be primed for pesto in T-minus 65 days (brown-thumb notwithstanding), I don’t see myself tiring of this bright and nutty spread any time soon.

Basil? What’s that? Who needs it anyway.

Arugula Pistachio Pesto

Yield: 1 cup

Total Time: 5 minutes


2 ounces arugula (about 2 cups, packed)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Place arugula in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add olive oil, pistachios, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Pulse until smooth, about 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use immediately or store, refrigerated in an airtight container, for 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

49 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I love basil pesto as much as the next person but sometimes it’s really nice to change things up. I broke my food processor just before Christmas but bought a new one at the weekend and I can’t wait to get back into the habit of making my own pesto again!


  2. 2
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I have recently fallen in love with arugula pesto too. The pistachios are a great addition. These photos are amazing, Lindsay!


  3. 3
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Love the addition of the pistachio to the pesto!


  4. 4
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Love pistachios for pesto, hate shelling the unsalted kind! I’ve been meaning to use arugula in a pesto… does is still retain a lot of its bitter flavor? Thanks for sharing!



    • Posted On March 29, 2012 at 8:53 am

      It is a little bit bitter, but since you’re rarely eating it straight there are usually other flavors that tone it down. Like the goat cheese in the brushetta – really compliments the bitterness nicely!

      I’ve also seen people blanch the arugula first – that may help get rid of some of the bitterness.

  5. 5
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Mmm, this looks fantastic :) I’ve never had a pistachio pesto, sounds amazing!


  6. 6
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I so so so so so so SO love this.

    SO love it.



  7. 7
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Pesto on bread. Yes please! :D


  8. 8
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I love this. The arugula and pistachio is such a winning combination. Gorgeous pictures, Lindsay!


  9. 9
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 9:51 am

    You’re forgiven!!!


  10. 10
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Beautiful photos. Just breath-taking


  11. 11
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I adore making my own pesto but managed to melt the lid of my blender in January and haven’t got around to buying a new one. Now I make it with a pestle and mortar and I think the texture is even better.

    This pistachio version looks divine – yum!


  12. 12
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 10:32 am

    The pictures..oh, I can almost TASTE the pesto jumping off the screen at me. YUM!


  13. 13
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I love that you put the weight of the arugula + the amount it is packed. It helps so much!

    Such a beautiful, bright green pesto! So excited!


  14. 14
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    This is so fabulous!


  15. 15
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I adore your take on pesto. I’m a big fan of regular ol basil pesto, but also love trying new ingredients, and with the arugala, you’re getting a ton of added nutrition! The pistachio addition is fantastic as well -they’re my favorite nut! I’ll let you know how it goes when I try this recipe – I’d love to use it as a pizza sauce, too!


  16. 16
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Well…I need it (basil, that is). But this looks marvelous, too.
    Printing out this recipe: you’ve totally sold me on this combination.


  17. 17
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I must make this. A big bag of arugula is definitely going to be in my cart my next Trader Joe’s trip!


  18. 18
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Arugula pesto has been on my to-make list for so long, I really must get round to it!!


  19. 19
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Wow, wow, wow. This looks delicious! I’ve made arugula pesto before, but it came out quite bitter. I can’t wait to try this; the pistachios are a delightful twist!


  20. 20
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Looks delicious. Fantastic pictures. I love pesto, but I have never tried arugula pesto before, I am going to try. Thanks a lot.


  21. 21
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    I absolutely love the arugula-pistachio thing going on here. Blend me up in here…yum.


  22. 22
    Posted On March 29, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    This is so inspired. I am a huge pistachio fan so I must try this. It’s so vibrant and pretty too.


  23. 23
    Posted On March 30, 2012 at 6:28 am

    This is a keeper! Love the pics too!


  24. 24
    Posted On March 30, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I just made a basil and walnut pesto the other night. Will definitely have to try this one now.
    And Lindsay, your pictures are beautiful! Keep it up!


  25. 25
    Posted On March 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    That has to be delicious. Love arugula. Great photos!


  26. 26
    Posted On April 1, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Lindsay this looks so yummy. I make pesto with everything but the kitchen sink over here at Food on Fifth. Basil is just one ingredient to use and Arugula is tasty as well. I made some chard & walnut pesto this winter using the chard in my winter garden and some spinach & pistachio pesto a few days ago. Isn’t it great that pesto is no longer just basil? Lovely photos as usual.


  27. 27
    Posted On April 3, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Pesto is such a great invention. And arugula goes with everything. So you came up with a winning combination. And it matches your blog colors!


  28. 28
    Posted On April 3, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Oh my this looks amazing!!! I love cooking with and adding pesto to different things. I never really thought to use it on bruschetta with goat cheese! My husband will die. I can’t wait! I like to make a huge patch of pesto , then freeze it in ice cube trays to pop out and use later. I keep them in a freezer ziplock bag, and although I made mine with basil, it would still work the same with arugula pesto. You can check it out here:


  29. 29
    Posted On April 3, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I love arugula, and pistachios, and pesto. Never thought to put pesto on crostini like this – brillo! Stunning photos, as always!


  30. 30
    Posted On April 4, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Pesto on burgers. Great idea. I love pesto in all it’s shapes and forms. Your pesto is such a beautiful colour. Who could resist it?


  31. 31
    Posted On April 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Could your photos be anymore gorgeous? Love this!! I make pesto with basil but must try this argula version!


  32. 32
    Posted On April 5, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Do you think this would freeze well? I wanted to make some to give away and thought this flavor combo sounds fantastic. But then I don’t know how quickly my friend will eat it. Me, in a heartbeat. I think I will make put it on pizza this weekend, and tomatoes, bread. Well there might be some left to give away.


    • Posted On April 5, 2012 at 8:30 am

      Most definitely! I freeze basil pesto all the time, don’t see why this would be any different. :)

  33. 33
    Posted On April 5, 2012 at 7:43 am

    look at your link from Food 52! that’s kind of a huge deal! there’s a recipe on big girls small kitchen for a grilled cheese with arugula pesto that i love.


  34. 34
    Posted On April 5, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Oh my god I LOVE IT! Thank you so much for this great idea for my easter-breakfast next weekend!!!


  35. 35
    Posted On April 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm


    LOVE this recipe. Just featured it today on Borrowed Friday over on our site. Again, I LOVE it.


  36. 36
    Posted On April 8, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    This is fantastic.
    I made it to go on crostini with the goat cheese – a real hit at our house but I must say, the next day we used it as a garnish for fresh grilled tuna – goodness, it was fabulous! Thanks for the great new spring staple.

    I have been freezing pestos for years in small snack bags – make it easy to “break” off a piece for pastas or soup.


  37. 37
    Posted On April 10, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    i love arugula!!! so refreshing to see lots of people venturing away from basil pesto nowadays! arugula rocks!!!


  38. 38
    Posted On April 15, 2012 at 9:06 am

    What a lovely idea. Something about that bright green color just soothes my soul. And pistachios in pesto? That may be the best idea I’ve heard all week.


  39. 39
    Posted On April 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I made this tonight and ohhh my it was awesome! I used some mixed nuts instead of pistachios and it came out great!


  40. 40
    Posted On April 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Pesto is a favorite thing of mine to make…I’ve use cilantro, parsley and fresh spinach…all good…but never tried arugula! Plan to make this asap! Your pictures are mouthwatering!


  41. 41
    Posted On April 18, 2012 at 2:14 pm
  42. 42
    Sarah W
    Posted On April 18, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    I just made this tonight and it was wonderful. Love the toasted pistachio flavor – it really comes out in the pesto and tastes so delicious. I also love the bright green color of the pesto. It looks so fresh and spring-y. Thanks for sharing the recipe.


  43. 43
    Posted On May 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    This looks like a really fresh recipe. Just found you here, Im off to have a look around. Thanks for sharing, lee (


  44. 44
    Posted On September 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Just made this. It is out of this world!! Thanks for sharing!


  45. 45
    Posted On December 1, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Can you freeze this??


    • Posted On December 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      Most definitely! Pesto of any kind freezes wonderfully.

  46. 46
    Posted On January 2, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Pesto is a favorite thing of mine to make…I’ve use cilantro, parsley and fresh spinach…all good…but never tried arugula! Plan to make this asap! Your pictures are mouthwatering!


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